FC Tucson

FC Tucson’s unbeaten streak stops at seven

A seven-match unbeaten streak was foiled Saturday night by North Texas SC as the team from Arlington, Texas, beat FC Tucson by a score of 2-0 at Kino North on Heritage Night.

FC Tucson was 5-0-2 in the run and now stands at 9-9-6 and 33 points, tied for fifth in the USL League 1 standings with North Texas SC (8-7-9). The top six teams qualify for the postseason.

Both teams are just two points behind third-place Greenville Triumph (9-7-8, 35 points). New England Revolution II (10-9-4, 34 points) is in fourth place.

FC Tucson will be back at Kino North on Wed., Oct. 13, against last-place North Carolina FC (5-14-4, 19 points) at 7 p.m.

There are just four games remaining on the schedule, three at home.

Despite FC Tucson outshooting their opponents 12-11 on Saturday night, it was North Texas FC who made the most of their shots, having eight on target compared to FC Tucson’s two.

“I’m extremely disappointed for the guys. We were on the wrong side of a lot of them (offensive opportunities) tonight and that’s always difficult,” said head coach Jon Pearlman, whose team went 0-3-1 against North Texas SC this season. “I was pleased with the way we moved the ball, 18 to 18. There was a lot of good moments but that final one-third moment, the shots just weren’t hitting the frame and the crosses weren’t landing where they needed to.”

North Texas SC’s first goal came in the 32nd minute of the match.

Khalil ElMedkhar knocked the ball in the back of the net after Charlie Dennis tried making the tackle and things remained competitive for most of the match after that.

Then, in the 76th minute, it was North Texas SC’s Imanol Almaguer who scored the second goal of the night.

Almaguer made a break away goal, nearly leaping over goal keeper Wallis Lapsley to make it.

The match overall was chippy with 18 fouls handed to the Men in Black while 16 were given to North Texas SC.

Six yellow cards in total were given out to both teams with Maxi Schenfeld snagging the red card for Tucson.

There were plenty of missed calls on the pitch as well with multiple players on FC Tucson’s side appearing to be fouled with no penalties handed out.

Some of the missed opportunities appeared to be an illegal tackle on Joey Perez during a break away play that was not called and Dennis also appeared to be fouled near the goal after getting knocked down by a North Texas SC player while he was clearly turned.

Despite these issues, Pearlman would not allow excuses for his team.

“We’re the other team, we’re at home, we should’ve been mentally stronger,” he said. “The referee (Laura Rodriguez) is doing her best job. Is she able to work at this level and perform? I think she’s gonna have to look back on that game and analyze it, but again, we did not finish our chances. North Texas did.”

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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 for the Cougars.

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