There were three deluges on Tuesday night at Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5 - two from Mother Nature and one from FC Tucson.
During a nonleague match that included two spells of heavy rain, FC Tucson notched three goals in the first half en route to a 5-2 win over the Yucaipa All-Stars as 476 watched the penultimate match of the season.
As was the case in Saturday's win, Casa Grande native Ricardo Velazco spearheaded the attack for FC Tucson. The former Sunnyside High School and Tucson Soccer Academy star scored the club's second and third goals of the night and raised his team-leading goal total to eight in all competitions.
"We didn't know anything about this team, so we didn't know what to expect from them," Velazco said. "We came out and did what we do best: entertain the crowd."
But it was Yucaipa that struck first when Cody Shelton took advantage of a defensive breakdown and slotted the ball across the goal to put the visitors up 1-0 in the 14th minute.
The lead didn't last long. During a goal scramble in the 19th minute, forward David Clemens found the ball popping up to him about a yard from the goal. He lifted his leg up and tapped in for the equalizer.
FC Tucson took a 2-1 lead when Velazco converted a penalty in the 33rd minute after Isaac Ikyurav was taken down in the box. Velazco pushed it to the left while goalkeeper Juan Ruano went the other way.
"We've talked about the way we've been trying to play with our outside backs really high, spreading out our center backs and allowing Richie and Isaac a little more freedom," FC Tucson coach Rick Schantz said. "What I've done is I've gone back and watched us play Houston Dynamo (in a third-round Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup loss May 29) and what they did to us. And I figured how can I learn from that scenario and how can our team get better.
"I thought the first 30 minutes tonight was probably the best 30 minutes we've played all season - the ball movement, their shape was great."
As a heavy rain descended on the field, Velazco made it 3-1 just before the halftime whistle. After Clemens pulled three defenders and the goalkeeper to one side, his shot was cleared by a defender to Ikyurav on the opposite side. He got the ball to Velazco, who fired a shot into the upper part of the net.
"I was just trying to stay patient and stay confident once I get the ball, and put it in the back of the net," Velazco said.
The rain took a break for a few minutes to start the second half, but Yucaipa didn't. It pulled within 3-2 when Shelton converted a penalty after he was pulled by Eli Galbraith-Knapp in the box in the 52nd minute.
Forward Saeed Robinson, a second-half sub, restored FC Tucson's two-goal lead in the 68th minute when his shot from 18 yards sizzled along the ground and into the net.
The final goal also came from Ikyurav, who right-footed home a shot after a glorious long ball from Tim Harbison sent Robinson on a breakaway.
FC Tucson, which is 10-5 with four draws in all competitions this year, wraps up its season Saturday with a home league match against the BYU Cougars. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
• Alana Rowton scored two goals, and Kirsten Kobor added another as Synergy defeated Nemesis 3-0 in the Chapman Tucson Champions League women's final held before FC Tucson's match Tuesday night. Both teams play in the Tucson Women's Soccer League.
• Tucson Soccer Academy FC will play the San Diego SeaLions on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Women's Premier Soccer League's Western Conference playoffs in Elk Grove, Calif. TSAFC, which finished its first regular season in the WPSL with a 6-1-1 record, will also play a match Sunday. If it wins, TSAFC would play the winner of a match between AC Seattle and Storm Elk Grove on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with a berth in the Final Four on the line. If it loses, there would be consolation match Sunday against the Seattle-Elk Grove loser at 5 p.m.
• What: FC Tucson vs. BYU
• Where: Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5
• When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday