FC Tucson played hard, but couldn’t get the three points they were looking for this Saturday. They lost to North Texas SC by a score of 2-0, losing their third match in a row.
Despite the loss, FC Tucson did not lack in supporters as crowd attendance at Kino North Stadium on Teacher Appreciation Night was recorded to be at around 840, one of the highest totals of the season.
This one was important, as the Men in Black needed the three points to jump North Texas SC (5-5-4, 19 points) in the USL League One standings.
The first shot came in the 14th minute of the match with Christian Ferreira scoring. FC Tucson was back in the defensive swing of things until the 29th minute when Gibran Rayo knocked in a solo shot to put North Texas up by two.
FC Tucson coach Jon Pearlman was not very enthused about his team’s lack of urgency on defense.
“If we can’t get good pressure on the ball, we have to back press and we have to run — we have to chase — and when you’re letting midfielders run by you, you’re putting your backs under a lot of duress, and that’s what happened tonight,” Pearlman said. “Without the kind of tracking effort from the front five, your back four is gonna look like that.”
The Men in Black came out of the second half looking ready, but North Texas stayed heavy on defense and played back.
Despite that, FC Tucson did their best in creating as many shot opportunities they could.
At least two free kicks were attempted along with shots in the 60th, 84th and 89th minutes, but to no avail.
Playing from behind is something this club has been familiar with over the season and Pearlman acknowledged that.
“We have conceded early in all of our defeats,” he said. “Post halftime, we’ve been pretty much the better team. Ultimately, for me, we’re a team that grows in the game and has good players that come on. If we can put up against (league-leading) Omaha and be even or up, we’re the favorites at home.”
FC Tucson (4-7-4, 16 points) plays Union Omaha (8-1-6, 30 points) at Kino North on Saturday at 7 p.m.
This will be a tough game for FC Tucson, as they lost to Union Omaha on July 24 by a score of 2-1, the first loss since Pearlman returned as interim head coach two months ago.
FC Tucson is four points ahead of last-place North Carolina FC (3-8-3, 12 points). The Men in Black are six points out of playoff contention (New England Revolution II is in sixth at 7-7-1 with 22 points). The regular season ends Oct. 30.
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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.