FC Tucson Women

FC Tucson Women end season with dominating victory

FC Tucson women celebrate a goal (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

FC Tucson capped their season with a bang, defeating the EL Paso Surf on their home ground of Kino North Stadium by a score of 9-0 on Sunday night.

FC Tucson finished the season with a 5-2-3 record and a second-place finish in the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s West Desert Division.

They are the only team to take points off division leaders SC del Sol (9-0-1).

El Paso Surf fell to 2-2-6.

Following a draw with AZ Arsenal on Saturday, FC Tucson could do no wrong as attackers ran riot from the first minute to the last.

FC Tucson started the season strongly, going unbeaten in their first five games. However, the second half of the season proved to be more difficult, as the prior four games to Sunday’s finale concluded with FC Tucson winning only two points of a possible 12.

Head Coach Roberto Garcia was confident in his team despite their slump.

“The locker room is in a good place,” he said. “It’s a good group of girls that all love each other, and knowing that this would be the last time that they’ll all be together until next season was a big source of motivation for them. After that it was just doing the things we’ve talked about all season, and just being better at it.”

Forward Milaya Eyrich, a Walden Grove graduate headed to New Mexico State, opened FC Tucson’s scoring account in the third minute after a long run down the left wing, beating her defender with sheer pace before slotting the ball home.

Forward Vivien Villarreal, a former teammate of Eyrich’s at Walden Grove who is a junior, doubled Tucson’s lead mere minutes later, pouncing on a loose ball in the box after defender Odessa Barattieri lofted a pass into El Paso’s box. Barattieri, who plays collegiate soccer for UL Monroe, was stalwart in defense all night, but displayed a nice bit quality with her passing range as well.

Two more goals came in the first half, courtesy of forward Ashly Martinez and midfielder Fiorela Miranda. An incisive pass from Luz Duarte in the 22nd minute left Martinez in a 1v1 with an El Paso defender down the right wing, and a quick feint gave Martinez the room to get her shot away and past the keeper.

Duarte, who has spent time playing professionally in Mexico, was a maestro on the field, drawing two defenders in before laying the ball off to the waiting Miranda for an easy goal in the 38th minute. Duarte is one of Tucson’s most experienced players, and that experience certainly showed as she added a beautiful volleyed goal in the 66th minute and another assist to go alongside her two first half assists.

Unfortunately for El Paso, FC Tucson learned from their mistakes in the previous game and never let off the gas. Martinez in particular had a performance for the ages, scoring a second-half hat trick with goals in the 69th, 70th, and 88th minute. Whenever the ball came to her, good things happened for FC Tucson.

In the final moments of the game, Martinez capped off her incredible performance by finding midfielder Hannah Ramos, an Illinois Tech commit, streaking into the box on a late run. Ramos rewarded the pass with a header that had no chance of being saved.

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