FC Tucson fought back from an early 2-0 deficit Saturday night to tie LA Galaxy San Diego 2-2 in the closing seconds of stoppage time. The tie keeps FC Tucson (1-2-1) in the upper half of the PacSouth Division of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). It was the first match of the year for the LA Galaxy SD squad (0-0-1).
The tie came one night after FC Tucson dropped their home opener to the San Diego SeaLions. The 2-1 loss at the Kino North Stadium came in the final moments of the game. The SeaLions control the division with a 3-0 record.
The home-opener came with energy already built in due to the rivalry with the SeaLions but LA Galaxy offered a different set of circumstances and the club from San Diego took full advantage early on.
“This game came one night after a tough loss and we came out a little flat,” head coach Amy Garelick said. “We were able to rally late but we had to come out hard in the second half.”
Typically a physical team, FC Tucson was on the short end of several possessions and calls Saturday night and, as mentioned before, San Diego controlled most of the opening half to take the 2-0 lead.
Leading the way for LA Galaxy was Erica Stephan. A native of San Diego, Stephan played for the University of Arizona before transferring to Long Beach State. Stephan scored an olimpico goal on a corner kick in the 4th minute and another in the 12th.
The lead would hold until Jessica Hix scored on a pass from Sarah Adams in the 51st minute. The goal was the product of an energized attack that saw possession dominance from FC Tucson but with little result until LA Galaxy keeper MacKenna Carmichael gambled and moved from her position to stop the assist dumped in from 20 yards out.
Stephan was issued a yellow card five minutes later, which helped signal a change in, not only energy, but also how the game was going to be played out and called from there. Unable to adjust to play, Stephan earned her second yellow card only minutes later and the LA Galaxy played with 10 players in the final 30 minutes of play.
Still, despite numerous shots on goal, FC Tucson was unable to find the net until Hix scored on a wild mixer that took several seconds to figure out. Video replay showed it was, in fact, Hix with her second goal in what amounted to a power play with little defense.
“We rebounded in the second half and played our game,” His explained. “But even without their whole team out there, they kept coming so we had to keep playing harder.”
A high school state champion from Albuquerque, Hix just ended her freshman season at New Mexico.
LA Galaxy will host the next match for both teams on Saturday, June 17 and FC Tucson will return home to play Phoenix del Sol on Friday, June 23. FC Tucson features over a dozen players from Southern Arizona including current Salpointe standout Lauren Bollinger, Catalina Foothills standout Meghan Hawkins and Rincon/University standout Hannah Leitner.
FC TUCSON ROSTER
Sarah Adams, M, Georgetown
Savannah Berry, D-M, NAU
Lauren Bollinger, D, TSA ’00 Girls Red (Salpointe, 2018)
Lainey Burdett, GK, University of Arizona
Caylee Carter, F, University of Arizona
Meghan Cavanaugh, M, University of Albany
Paige Crouch, F, University of Arizona
Brooke Denesik, D, Texas Tech
Avadney Gerard-Osbourne, D, New Mexico (Tucson, 2015)
Meghan Hawkins, D, TSA ’00 Girls Red (Catalina Foothills, 2018)
Jessica Hix, M, New Mexico
Madison Irwin, M, New Mexico (Catalina, 2014)
Hannah Leitner, F, Ft. Lowell Soccer Club (Rincon/UHS, 2019)
Kaitlyn Lopez, F, University of Arizona (Ironwood Ridge, 2012)
Jessica McDorman, M, Pima (Cienega, 2006)
Jessica Nelson, D, University of Arizona (Ironwood Ridge, 2015)
Lexe Selman-Richards, M, University of Arizona
Alexandria Skidmore, D, Louisiana, Monroe (Catalina Foothills, 2015)
Malia Vanisi, GK, TSA ’99 Girls Red (Walden Grove, 2017)
Hannah Wong, F, University of Arizona
Head coach: Amy Garelick (Pusch Ridge coach)
Assistant coach: Todd Garelick
Assistant coach: Kelly Pierce (Salpointe coach)
General manager Charlie MacCabe
Equipment managers: Lauren Corral (Pusch Ridge, 2018) and Sarah Sawyer (Pusch Ridge, 2017)
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com