FC Tucson

FC Tucson keeps playoff push alive with win over Greenville Triumph

Shak Adams now leads FC Tucson with six goals after netting two Saturday (FC Tucson photo)

It had been a while since FC Tucson was able to enjoy a winning streak, not since the end of May when they beat Toronto FC and North Carolina FC in consecutive matches.

The Men in Black now enjoy a two-match win streak after taking down the defending USL League One champions, Greenville Triumph, 2-1, on Saturday night at Kino North Stadium.

FC Tucson has outscored their opponents 6-1 in the last two weeks after enduring a four-match losing streak that was capped by three straight outings without a goal.

Shak Adams scored two goals and nearly pulled off a hat trick in the win over the Greenville Triumph in the first home win for FC Tucson since July 17.

FC Tucson (6-8-4) now has 22 points, which keeps them at 11th place in the standings. They are three points behind the nearest playoff spot with a couple months of the season remaining.

The Richmond Kickers (6-6-7) are at sixth, the last playoff spot, with 25 points.

Greenville Triumph (6-7-6) is in a four-way tie for seventh with 24 points. FC Tucson handed Greenville its fourth straight loss.

“Obviously these six (playoff) points have changed our fortune.” FC Tucson interim coach Jeff Pearlman said of his team’s last two wins over Fort Lauderdale CF and Greenville Triumph. “We’re looking at a very different table right now. We’re looking to being attached and staying connected the rest of the way.”

FC Tucson and Greenville struggled to find their offense in the first 44 minutes.

It was the Men in Black who found their footing first, with Adams knocking in a kick into the corner of the net. Charlie Dennis was able to find him across the field and set him up perfectly.

“I felt like if I could run off of Gio. He might slip me. He ended up passing it to Charlie, Charlie passed to me and I finished it,” Adams said.

Noah Franke was also able to assist Adams at the goal.

Gio Calixtro saw Franke in the corner. He then found Adams in good position to score in front of the net at the 57th minute.

He kicked the ball to Adams, who snuck it just past the goal keeper for his second score of the day.

Adams now leads the team with six goals.

He nearly pulled off the hat trick, having a few opportunities to notch the third goal.

Despite this, Adams emphasized wanting his teammates to also get involved in scoring.

“I’m not very selfish. I was trying to get Toby (Uzo) a goal-or Deri (Corfe) a goal.” Adams said. “If I could get Deri one, then he could get the next two the next game. We could by flying as the front five or six players.”

Wallis Lapsley had another solid match at the net, saving three goals on target and not allowing a point for almost the entire game.

His only blemish comes from a goal scored by Greenville in the final minutes of stoppage time.

The three saves puts him at No. 3 in total saves (51) in the USL League One.

FC Tucson has a short week this week traveling to play the New England Revolution II on Wednesday. New England (7-7-3) is one of the four teams with 24 points.

Then FC Tucson must travel to Arlington, Texas, to play North Texas SC (6-5-7, 25 points). That match is next Sunday.

Pearlman realizes the challenge of having to play three matches in one week.

“We have to go into two tough places, into two tough fields and play two tough teams that are in playoff range right now,” he said. “To do that, you have to trust players and you have to play different players.”


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.

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