FC Tucson (1-3-1) started Saturday’s match fast and took the lead early, but it wasn’t enough to finish with the win.
The Men in Black lost to North Carolina FC (2-2-1) in stoppage time 2-1 at Kino North Stadium.
“I’m disappointed for the guys and the fans were amazing tonight,” FC Tucson head coach Jon Pearlman said. “There was just a good feeling after that first goal and we threw it away. I’m at a loss for words for why players coming on are not helping us secure the ball or making good decisions in key moments.”
The loss on Teacher Appreciation Night marks the second consecutive loss for FC Tucson.
Defender Kaelon Fox made his season debut after missing the first four games with a torn MCL. FC Tucson’s 2021 Player of the Year played the entirety of the first half and looked good.
“He brings a mentality, a drive, encouraging players on,” Pearlman said. “I thought he was good on one v. one duels. It helps to have Jake (Crull) on his naturally left side and not have to bring Tyler (Allen) over.”
FC Tucson progressed from their slow starts in the past for this match.
At the 9-minute mark, Deri Corfe took the pass from Daniel Bedoya inside the penalty box and beamed it passed the goal keeper, putting them up 1-0.
“The key was Yuki (Shibata) and Tyler were excellent on the night overall in terms of threatening,” Pearlman said. “(Tyler) threatened, he defended, he played well. It’s just a lot of gas to ask of him. Deri Corfe in these moments, is trying to find the perfect shot, just needs to hit it.”
FC Tucson spent a considerable amount of time on North Carolina’s side of the pitch, threatening to score with heavy pressure inside the penalty box.
Despite the improved offensive play by FC Tucson, North Carolina FC still threatened to score on a number of occasions.
At the end of the first period, North Carolina FC led in shots attempted with five compared to FC Tucson’s four.
North Carolina also had more shots on target, but the single goal scored for FC Tucson was enough to take the 1-0 lead into the locker room.
North Carolina began putting the pressure on FC Tucson a lot more in the second half. That pressure paid off for them at the 68-minute mark.
Jaden Servania was responsible for knocking in the equalizer. After a minute and a half of play inside of stoppage time, North Carolina took the 2-1 lead.
Oalex Anderson scored the last goal on a penalty kick and North Carolina defended for the last minute to take the victory and three points.
By the end of the match, FC Tucson was dominated by North Carolina FC in nearly all of the offensive statistics.
FC Tucson was out shot 20-6 with six of those North Carolina FC shots being on target. North Carolina FC also kept possession for 63 percent of the match.
FC Tucson will try to snap its losing streak next Saturday in North Carolina. They will play the Charlotte Independence at 3 p.m.
“We’re in need of points, “Pearlman said. “We need to stop the bleeding. It’s tough to have a two-game homestead and come up with zero points, but it’s game five (of the season).”