When things aren’t working, sometimes it’s best to just hit the reset button.
But even when things were working for FC Tucson, to the tune of a 10-match unbeaten streak, coach Rick Schantz could see that a reset button was going to be needed.
It came in the form of a 2-1 loss at home to the Ventura County Fusion on Saturday.
“We weren’t moving the ball as well as we would have liked,” Schantz said about the latter half of the unbeaten run. “That’s part of the downfall of really good teams — we try to say championship teams win when they are not playing well, but it also creates this attitude of ‘Well it’s OK; we can just turn it on whenever.’ Unfortunately, I think that attitude and behavior kind of stuck with us a little bit.
“Against Ventura, we didn’t perform and finally played a team that took advantage of their opportunities against us. I have been saying that this is probably the best thing that could have happened to us because it’s refocused the team. It put us in a position where the guys realize they have to work hard, they’re not just going to win based on talent alone.”
The first chance to return to form is tonight at 7 when FC Tucson faces the Southern California Seahorses in La Mirada.
FC Tucson is in first in the USL Premier Development League’s Mountain Division with 22 points. BYU is second with 21 points but has played one fewer match. The top two teams from the division earn playoff berths. The only team that has a chance of catching the top two is Las Vegas, which has 10 points with six matches to play.
If FC Tucson wins tonight and Las Vegas loses its match against L.A. Misioneros FC, FC Tucson would secure a playoff berth.
For Schantz, that isn’t high on his list right now.
“We have gone away from talking about the playoffs, from talking about a two-game (road) swing,” Schantz said. “Let’s put all of our energy and all of our focus into the Southern California Seahorses.
“We’re all driving out there (this morning), and I’m sure they are all going to watch USA-Germany while we’re driving in the vans. And they will be talking about soccer, but the focus really is ‘can we get back to one-touch soccer, and can we get back to a high-pressure defense in the midfield.’
“This week’s training has been just fantastic. The enthusiasm has been great. Everything has been one-touch at practice so I expect that we will play very fast.”