Soccer: It's David vs. Dynamo

FC Tucson amateurs to take on MLS power: 'A dream come true'
2013-05-29T00:00:00Z Soccer: It's David vs. DynamoDave Ord Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 29, 2013 12:00 am  • 

After David slew Goliath, did he then have to take on Megatron?

That might just about sum up the situation facing FC Tucson tonight in its third-round Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match.

After a surprising home win over Phoenix FC in the first round and an astonishing triumph over the host San Antonio Scorpions in Round 2, the men in black will have to come up with something otherworldly tonight against a two-time MLS Cup champion.

FC Tucson, a team made up almost exclusively of college players, will step onto the field at the 22,000-seat BBVA Compass Stadium and go up against the Houston Dynamo, one of the nation's top professional clubs. Kick-off is set for 5:30 p.m.

To put the task into context, FC Tucson's last match, on Sunday at Edison High School in Huntington Beach, Calif., drew 200 people.

Coach Rick Schantz is making sure to see the bright side despite the weight of the challenge.

"Houston played Saturday night and they play again Saturday, so we're kind of hoping that (coach) Dominic Kinnear decides we're just a PDL team, so let's play some reserves," Schantz said.

"But we know MLS reserves are just as good as if not better than San Antonio. What we can learn from watching them as much as we can is tendencies - (Kinnear's) decision-making, the style of play.

"We know they are probably the most aggressive team in the league. They're the best team in the league in set plays.

"They're extremely organized defensively."

"Best" and "most" are difficult adjectives to overcome, but FC Tucson does have a few positives to latch onto:

• Unlike the San Antonio trip, the team was able to fly to Houston rather than having to face the unenviable task of a long drive across Texas.

• FC Tucson, one of four USL Premier Development League teams left in the final 32 of the competition, already has the honor of being the first Arizona team to win a second-round match in U.S. Open Cup history. The club has far surpassed any expectations, meaning there's little pressure.

"That may never happen again," Schantz said.

"We may go another 50 years before a team from Arizona gets to the third round. But we will always be the first."

• Houston, which has made the U.S. Open Cup final twice in its history, hasn't exactly been in top form as of late.

The Dynamo has a draw and two losses in its last three MLS matches and, earlier this month, watched its 36-match unbeaten streak at home end against Sporting Kansas City.

"We're just excited to be able to play Houston at Houston," midfielder David Clemens said. "It's going to be a great experience for me and for the everyone on the team.

"We're really excited.

"It's going to be impossible not to get hyped up for a game in Houston. … It's really a dream come true."

Today

• What: FC Tucson at Houston Dynamo

• When: 5:30 p.m.

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