By H. Jose Bosch
FC Tucson began its 2014 campaign with a 0-0 draw against the University of New Mexico in front of 750 fans during the FC Tucson Open House Presented by Chapman Automotive.
“It was a perfect tune up for what we need this season,” said FC Tucson Head Coach Rick Schantz. “Playing against a really quality opponent (and) in an environment that’s realistic. I thought that their team was definitely in better shape than we were. We had to make some adjustments and handled it really well and played better in the second half.”
FC Tucson’s best scoring chance came in the 78th minute. Andres Acosta sent a free kick into the box from the near side of the field. The ball was headed back toward Ricardo Velazco, who fired a shot that was blocked by New Mexico keeper Patrick Poblete.
The rebound found the feet of an FC Tucson trialist, who cut back to his right, causing Poblete to slide and fall to the ground. Despite being helpless, Poblete still managed to block the trialist’s shot to keep the match scoreles.
The Lobos had the match’s first real chance when Niko Hansen received a perfectly placed ball to goalkeeper Billy Thompson’s right. Hansen flipped the ball up toward the near Upper 90 but missed the target.
In the 33rd minute, New Mexico’s Matt Gibbons seemed to score the evening’s first goal when he slipped a ball passed a sprawling Thompson, but the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.
FC Tucson had its own disallowed goal in the 44th minute when one of the team’s trialist was offside before backheeling a rebound into the net.
The last great chance of the evening for the Lobos came in the 61st minute when Ben McKendry smashed a 20-yard free kick into the crossbar, rattling the entire net while he held his hands up in disbelief.
“It was a good match,” said Velazco. “I think the first half we started a little sloppy, maybe a little nervous (and) a little tense. Second half we picked it up, picked the tempo up, and started playing in their half and started going our way but we started off slow and we ended up strong.”
FINAL MATCH STATISTICS
05.03.2014: North Stadium – 7:30 p.m.
FC TUCSON 0 – UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO 0
FCT: 1-Billy Thompson (’45, 18-Dallas Jaye); 8-Andres Acosta, 17-Edgar Reyna, 2-Dominic Papa, 13-Eli Galbraith-Knapp (’65, 14-Marco Carrillo); 22-Martino Rapella (‘81,10-Chris Ramsell), 4-Nick Aguilar (’45, 15-JuanNunez), 9-Ricardo Velazco,6-Reid Schmidtt (’33, 7-Tommy Ramos), 11-Connor Brandt; 24 Odaine Sinclair
Subs: 7-Tommy Ramos, 15-Juan Nunez, 18-Dallas Jaye, 14-Marco Carrillo, 5-Peter Kelly, 10- Chris Ramsell
Coach: Rick Schantz
UNM: 1-Patrick Poblete; 2-Matt Gibbons, 4-Riley McGovern, 21-Chris Gurule (’75, 17-Nick Rochowski), 5-Nick Miele; 6-Ben McKendry, 10-Josh Dye (75’ 20-Josh Goss), 9-Oniel Fisher, 20-Josh Goss (’45, 7-James Rogers), 14-Chris Wehan (’83, 18-Lucas Seligman); 11-Niko Hansen
Subs: 00-Kevin Armstrong, 0-James Schneebeck, 7-James Rogers, 16-Nick Thiros, 17-Nick Rochowski, 18-Lucas Seligman, 25-Rene Reyes, 28-James Wypych
Coach: Jeremy Fishbein
FCT — 39’, 13-Eli Galbraith-Knapp, 59’, 15-Juan Nunez, 85’, 24-Odaine Sinclair
UNM — 62’, James Rogers, ’69, 10-Josh Dye
Statistics FCT UNM
Shots 1 4
Saves 4 1
Fouls 6 3
Corners 1 0
Offside 2 3