FC Tucson was able to score a goal to avoid a shutout on Saturday night, but ultimately lost in the end to Union Omaha at Kino North Stadium.
Following their last loss to Union Omaha, FC Tucson went 2-0-1 for the month of July with interim coach Jon Pearlman leading the team. Former coach John Galas and FC Tucson parted ways after that last match against Union Omaha, which leads the USL League One with a 7-1-5 record (26 points).
FC Tucson (4-5-4, 16 points) was looking to continue their unbeaten stretch to four matches on Saturday night, and even get a little bit of revenge on the club that beat them the last time.
Both teams struggled to find their shot against each other, as they were both playing competitively on defense.
Union Omaha that found the net first with a goal in the 44th minute of the match.
Despite the second half adjustments made by Pearlman, Union Omaha was able to get their offense rolling early, nailing in a goal at the 51-minute mark to increase the lead 2-0.
FC Tucson was able to tighten its defense from there and for most of the second half attempted to rally a comeback, something the team has mastered as of late.
Their opportunity for a goal finally came in the 75th minute. Deri Corfe subbed in and immediately made an impact for his club.
Corfe assisted Shak Adams at the corner of the goal. He and a Union Omaha player both battled and slid into the net with the ball.
— FC Tucson (@FCTucson) July 25, 2021
Pearlman thought his team played well but acknowledged that a win against the top team in the division would have been significant.
“I’m just disappointed. It was a real opportunity to prove we’re among the contenders,” he said. “Right now, we’re just gonna have to lick our wounds and focus on the next match. Nothing here is irreparable and I’m pleased with the pieces of the puzzle.
“Overall, it was not a good match and we paid the price for it.”
Pearlman also acknowledged that a slow start and late mistakes are also something that needs improvement if they want to move ahead in the standings.
“The level of energy needs to be better for us coming out consistently,” Pearlman said. “Omaha is a really good team, a well-coached team, tough to play. I just thought we didn’t problem-solve as much as we needed to in the first half.
“The goal at the end was really critical. It was just a ball that came back to them and was a great finish.”
He also stressed needing to make changes and finding the right formula.
“We’ve proven that we can make changes and find the right guys that make a difference,” he said.
Pearlman also talked about needing his team to stay focused in the match.
“If we can get all 11 guys preforming, or three or four guys coming off the bench performing, then we can boat-race teams, but right now, at this level of consistency and performance and concentration, you’re gonna get what seems like two different teams that are playing and I don’t want that,” he said.
Despite loss, Pearlman and the Men in Black are still confident going into the remainder of the season.
“A seven-point month doesn’t kill us,” Pearlman said. “Again, we would have liked to gotten a point out of this one, but Union Omaha, they’re a good team. They know how to win on the road.”
FC Tucson only shot five times while making one goal.
They also had possession of the ball for 54 percent of the match and had a pass completion rate of 80 percent.
FC Tucson goes back on the road next week, taking on the Richmond Kickers, a team that is ahead of the Men in Black by a point in the standings with a 4-5-5 record. The game starts at 4.30 p.m and will be streamed on ESPN Plus.
FC Tucson, in 10th place in the standings, is three points out from playoff contention, trailing the New England Revolution II (6-7-1) and Toronto FC II (5-6-4) for the last qualifying spot at No. 6.
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Nathaniel Martinez is an aspiring sports journalist who is a Sahuaro High School graduate and Pima Community College student. He has written for the Aztec Press at Pima. While at Sahuaro, he played football for longtime coach Scott McKee and he wrestled.