Forward Abbie Boswell confidently converted a penalty kick in the 92nd minute, her second successful conversion of the game, giving FC Tucson Women a 2-1 win over Albuquerque FC over the weekend at Kino North Stadium.
It was the season opener for FC Tucson Women.
“I’m extremely pleased with the way we performed and the outcome,” said head coach Kelly Pierce in her first year as the team’s head coach. “With just a handful of practices, I was a bit concerned, but the players showed up ready to play and supported their teammates on the field and from the bench. We created a lot of chances, and had some good ball movement, but we will need to improve our finishing as we move forward.
“Our defenders did a great job of denying chances to Albuquerque, who were really dangerous on the counterattack, especially in the second half. We are happy to get off to such a great start and look forward to facing Las Vegas Friday night at home.”
FC Tucson plays host to Players FC (Las Vegas) at Kino North Stadium on Friday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, June 9, FCTW plays its first away match of the season when it travels to Albuquerque for a rematch.
In the season opener, Tucson took the lead at the end of the first half, only to lose it early in the second stanza, before Boswell’s stoppage-time heroics.
FCTW dominated early. Boswell, who was a constant threat throughout the match, nearly scored in opening minutes when her shot from just inside the box hit the left upright. But visiting Albuquerque, a first-year franchise that opened their season with a 4-0 road win against Phoenix Del Sol, made life difficult for Tucson. Playing with the wind, FCTW saw eight first-half shots turned away before the breakthrough came at the stroke of halftime when forward Bella Santavicca was fouled in the penalty area and Boswell calmly kicked the ensuing penalty into the lower left corner.
The second half was a more even affair with chances for both sides. Midfielder Bri Barreiro’s free kick appeared destined for the upper corner before it was tipped onto the crossbar by Albuquerque goalkeeper Katherine Robinson. The visitors created some chances of their own and equalized in the 52nd minute when Corey Kizer’s shot from just inside the area hit the crossbar and bounced behind the goal line. Staunch defending and quality goalkeeping kept the score level until stoppage time when goalkeeper Robinson shoved forward Jessica Raybe on a FCTW corner kick, giving the home team their second penalty of the night amid the protestation of Robinson and her teammates. Boswell did her magic for the second time and FCTW came away with a well- earned victory against a worthy opponent.
Playing together for the first time, the back four of Laura Pimienta, Brandi Park, Jen Larsen and Bri Lewis were excellent on the night, limiting Albuquerque to just seven shots and one corner kick. With just two weeks to prepare, the team displayed a surprising level of cohesion and great team spirit.