FC Tucson chances of winning the division disappeared Saturday with a 3-1 loss to the host Fresno Fuego at Chukchansi Park.
Two goals by the division leader in the first 30 minutes left FC Tucson straining to catch up.
Fresno took a 1-0 lead when Tyler Reinhart scored from long range in the 29th minute. A minute later, Paul Islas scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season to double the Fuego's lead.
FC Tucson answered back with a Gabe Silveira goal in the 41st minute. The midfielder from Sacramento State latched on to a cross from Isaac Ikyurav, his college teammate, to cut the deficit in half.
Despite pushing forward for most of the second half and having a few good chances, including Ricardo Velazco's shot that hit the crossbar, FC Tucson couldn't equalize.
Fuego forward Gregory Antognoli added a goal in the 88th minute to seal the match.
FC Tucson remains with 12 points and in fourth place in the USL Premier Development League's Southwest Division. Trailing Fresno by 13 points with a maximum of just 15 points still on the table, FC Tucson is all but mathematically eliminated from winning the division. It will now have to concentrate on earning one of the playoff spots awarded to the top seven nondivision winners.
FC Tucson lost 1-0 to Fresno at Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5 on June 8.
The club returns home to face Ventura County on Friday and next Sunday. Both matches start at 7:30 p.m. Four of the FC Tucson's final five league games are at home.