With a chance to take a breather from a difficult league season, FC Tucson did just that and cruised to a victory Saturday night.
FC Tucson scored three first-half goals en route to defeating a local adult men's league team, Xolos, 4-2, before 505 fans at Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5.
After being eliminated from the postseason in the past week, FC Tucson played a decidedly different starting lineup. Seven starters on Saturday night had seen action in only a handful of matches this season.
Xolos of the Menlo Soccer League earned the right to play FC Tucson by winning the Chapman Tucson Champions League, a tournament involving the champions of four local adult leagues. Xolos beat Celaya 1-0 in the CTCL final June 30, which was called in the 59th minute because of lightning.
"It was really cool" to play a match against a local men's league team, FC Tucson coach Rick Schantz said. "It was almost a bummer that we scored (early) because I think it impacted some of our players a little bit. They thought that it was going to be really easy."
FC Tucson's first goal came from Saeed Robinson when he rifled a shot along the ground that found the left corner in the second minute.
"That shot was world class - the ball movement, the finish was great," Schantz said.
The lead was doubled when Aaron Long converted a penalty in the 29th minute after Robinson was taken down in the box. Xolos goalkeeper Diego Jimenez guessed the right way on the penalty, but Long's strike still bulged the net.
Before the halftime whistle, FC Tucson made it 3-0 when Carlos Montes beat a pair of defenders and the goalkeeper with a well-angled shot from the left side.
FC Tucson outshot Xolos 7-4 in the first half.
The men in black took a 4-0 lead on a goal by Brian Hoyt in the 81st minute.
One of Xolos' two halftime substitutions was a familiar face - former Salpointe Catholic High School and Pima College forward Fernando Gauna, who played for FC Tucson during its inaugural season. Gauna scored the first goal in FC Tucson history, putting one in the net against the New York Red Bulls on March 4, 2011.
Turning the tables, he scored one of Xolos' two goals in the final 7:00.
With multiple subs, FC Tucson found it hard to find a flow in the final minutes.
"We were trying a new formation. We were trying to play a little like Real Salt Lake - with a diamond midfield," Schantz said.
• Tucson Soccer Academy FC had its perfect record blemished but still picked up a point against Phoenix Del Sol on Saturday to put itself on the verge of winning the division. The 1-1 draw in the opener of the doubleheader gave TSAFC 16 points. TSAFC, which has five wins and draw in six matches, needs just one point in one of its final two matches to claim the Women's Premier Soccer League's Big Sky-North Division. "It was certainly not our best show, but we got a point out of it," TSAFC coach Amy Garelick said.
TSAFC tied the match in the 28th minute on a goal by Jordan Davidson after a long, weaving run down the right side. Phoenix appeared to have taken the lead in the 77th minute on a strike from 18 yards that deflected into the goal, but the referee, after consulting with a linesman, ruled there was an offside earlier.
• Gavino Carranza, 16, made his debut for FC Tucson. "He's the youngest player in Tucson history to get a point," Schantz said.
• What: FC Tucson vs. LA Misioneros
• Where: Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5
• When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday