FC Tucson (7-1-4) put on a scoring show in a 5-1 win Saturday night over the Arizona Arsenal in front of 956 fans at Kino North Stadium in what turned out to be the final match of the season.
Tucson could have made the playoffs with the win and a Redlands FC loss or draw against the Ventura County Fusion on Saturday to move above them at second place.
Redlands (8-2-2) defeated the Ventura County Fusion 4-1 to clinch the spot. Last week, FC Tucson defeated Redlands 3-0.
Had Tucson qualified for the playoffs, it could have possibly hosted the next match and given its track record this season, that would have been a huge advantage. Tucson finished 7-0-1 at home this season.
“I think I heard in there that we were gonna host if we made it,” midfielder Carlos Armendariz said. “I think no team here would have came close to us here at home.”
Tucson can take with it bragging rights after beating in-state rival Arizona Arsenal (2-8-2). It secured the Golden Saguaro trophy on Fan Appreciation Night.
The win extended Tucson’s unbeaten streak to nine matches with five games won in that stretch and it preserved its undefeated record at home.
“It was the chemistry,” Armendariz said of the reason they went on the streak. “At the beginning of the year, we were lacking in goals. It was just the building of chemistry, growing stronger and stronger.”
Armendariz, who was a sight to behold on Saturday, scored the first two goals for FC Tucson in the first half.
The first goal came in minute 15 of the half. Armendariz headed the ball in from a corner kick and knocked to the back of the net.
The next came in the 29th minute with a highlight reel scissor kick, putting FC Tucson up 2-0 by the end of the half.
Armendariz had scored three of the last eight goals over a two-game stretch.
Duvan Canchila scored the next goal at the 50-minute mark, bringing the FC Tucson lead to 3-0.
Brendan Clark netted another goal at minute 63 to pull even farther away from Arizona at 4-0.
Arizona answered back with a goal in the 65th minute in hopes of rallying back, but the FC Tucson defense proved too potent.
Mathis St. Louis-Pilon scored the final goal of the night in the 90th minute, ending the match with yet another decisive victory.
Tucson won by shutout in three of its last five games and it defeated Arizona Arsenal 6-2 at Kino North on July 3 in the midst of that.
“I think the way we got the results says a lot,” first-year FC Tucson head coach Mark Biagi said. “Once we got all these guys here and once we got a little bit of rhythm , we were unstoppable. The unfortunate piece is that we were not able to make it to the playoffs, but we certainly are a playoff-caliber team, and I think we showed that this year.”
Biagi spent three years as a FC Tucson assistant coach before earning the head spot. He was a part of the club that saw FC Tucson make it to the playoffs for the first time in its history before losing to Union Omaha in the USL League One semifinals in 2021.
The club will now look to build off of a successful first year in the USL League Two.