Set pieces are to soccer what chase scenes are to movies.
You can have goals without set pieces and films without chase scenes. But they both add a lot, if done well.
FC Tucson picked up two thrilling goals on set pieces and added another on a penalty to defeat FC Hasental 3-1 in a nonleague match before 688 spectators at Kino Sports Complex North Stadium on Wednesday night.
The men in black picked up their third straight victory despite using only two of the same starters it put out for Saturday’s 7-0 demolishing of the OC Pateadores Blues.
Nonleague matches “have been a great opportunity in years past for us to put everybody on the bench, and if things aren’t going our way, put some starters in. But specifically today I kept a lot of (starters) out because I wanted to force us to use the players that were here as kind of a reserve squad,” FC Tucson coach Rick Schantz said. “They performed really, really well.”
One of those key reserves was center back Josh Phillips. The former Gonzaga standout opened the scoring, going up high for a header off a free kick by Eli Galbraith-Knapp in the 13th minute.
“In the locker room before the game, we talked about set pieces, how one of our runners needed to get near post,” said the 22-year-old, who scored just one goal in four years with the Zags. “So I took the responsibility to get near post on that first ball. I was lucky to have a great ball played in by Eli and got a deflection on it, and that was all it took.
“I was a little in shock, and I didn’t know quite what to do right when I first scored it. But as soon as I turned around and saw all the fans, and how cool the atmosphere was, a lot of excitement came over me.”
Forward Vance Rockwood almost doubled the lead when he cut across the box after a corner and quickly volleyed it, but straight at goalkeeper Miguel Lopez.
FC Hasental evened it at 1 when Faisal Abduljawad rocketed in a rebound after Phillips made a nice play to stop the initial shot just a minute before the break.
FC Tucson outshot FC Hasental 7-2 in the first half and dominated most of the play.
In the 58th minute, the men in black retook the lead when Christian Volesky converted a penalty after he was taken down in the box. Volesky latched on to a perfect through ball by Andres Acosta and had only the keeper to beat. But second-half substitute keeper Luis Monroy brought Volesky down and was shown a red card.
Lopez was allowed to come back into the game to replace Monroy, but was no match for Volesky’s penalty, which punched the back of the net even though Lopez guessed the right way.
Volesky scored one of FC Tucson’s goals in Saturday’s dominating victory. The other three goal scorers from Saturday’s match did not play Wednesday.
Goal No. 3 on Wednesday came in the 66th minute when Ivan
Gutierrez’s rocket of a free kick from 22 yards whistled into the goal.
Gutierrez and Martino Rapella both set up to take the kick, but unlike in previous instances in the match, Gutierrez seized the opportunity.
“I’ve just started taking free kicks,” Gutierrez said. “I told Martino this one was in my range.”
FC Tucson returns to league action Saturday when it will face the Real Colorado Foxes in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, at 6:30 p.m.
FC Hasental is 6-3-0 in the National Premier Soccer League this season.
It has won four of its last five league matches, the last one being a 8-0 pasting of Del Ray City SC on Saturday.
- Before FC Tucson’s match, Errea of the Tucson Metro Soccer League defeated Celaya of the Guanajuato AZ Soccer League 5-4 on penalties in a Chapman Champions League semifinal.
- The highlight of the penalty shootout was an amazing save by FC Tucson goalkeeper coach
- Roman Acosta
- . The former Salpointe High School and Pima College standout reached back and pawed away a chip shot to keep Errea’s hopes alive in the fifth round of penalties.
- The other semifinal and the final will be held before future FC Tucson matches with the final winner facing FC Tucson at a date to be determined.