FC Tucson tied at the top of the table

Tucson, AZ (Tuesday, June 14, 2012) — It was the first time Tucson saw its home team trailing, but just three minutes into the game, the LA Misioneros drew first blood in Thursday night’s 1-1 draw with FC Tucson in front of a crowd of 586.

The go-ahead goal came when Los Angeles’ Victor Mendoza was in the right place at the right time. FC Tucson goalkeeper Michael D’Arrigo parried a free kick away and to his right, but it didn’t go far enough. Mendoza came crashing in, meeting the ball and D’Arrigo at the same time.

After the ensuing collision, Mendoza found himself lying right next to the ball. All he had to do was tap it in with his leg for the goal. The goal also snapped FC Tucson’s shut out streak at 548 minutes

“(The ball) knuckled so hard I couldn’t get my palm on the ball, just my finger tips, so it didn’t go very far wide,” D’Arrigo said. “And I was very mad because, there goes 550 minutes.”

The team’s shut out streak may have been snapped, but FC Tucson still had an unbeaten streak to defend and following the Misioneros goal, the defense clamped down the rest of the game, giving Los Angeles few chances to take cracks at the net.

For FC Tucson, the chances didn’t come often and when they did, the team couldn’t capitalize. In the 54th minute Dom Papa found space in the top-right corner of the 18-yard box but his shot went straight at Misioneros’ keeper Aldo Iniguez.

Two minutes later, FC Tucson had one of the best chances of the game. A mistake by Los Angeles led a breakaway down the left side of the box for Phillipe Garre. With a wide open net Garre took a shot that looked destined for the net. But Los Angeles’ Jose Ortega came out of nowhere to kick the ball off the line and preserve the 1-0 lead.

Then in the 58th minutes Colin Anderson’s free kicked missed the right side of the net by inches, crashing into the side of the net.

FC Tucson finally broke through in the 63rd minute when Reid Schmitt sent a picture perfect ball from the right side of the field into the center of the box. He found the head of Conor Spence, who headed it into the bottom right corner of the net for the equalizing goal.

“Once we got the goal to tie it, I actually felt the game was ours to take,” said FC Tucson head coach Rick Schantz. “It was just bad luck. … It’s a game that I think we let two points slip away.”

FC Tucson’s draw puts them into a first-place tie with the Ventura County Fusion going into their match with the Fusion on Saturday, June 16. With both teams tied in points (19) and games (8) the winner will be in first place in the division. The Fusion are riding a six-game winning streak while FC Tucson has a seven-game unbeaten streak. The match will be at 7 p.m.

To view a photo gallery of the game, click here.

Goals:
’3 — LA Misioneros: Victor Mendoza
’64 — FC Tucson: Conor Spence (Reid Schmitt)

Cards:
’40 — Yellow, Victor Mendoza (LA Misioneros)
’50 — Yellow, Donny Toia (FC Tucson)
’71 — Yellow, Travis Campbell (FC Tucson)
’84 — Yellow, Conor Spence (FC Tucson)

Starters:

FC Tucson
GK Michael D’Arrigo
D Conor Spence
D Reid Schmitt
M Colin Anderson
M Donny Toia
F Max Alvarez
F Dom Papa
D Kareem Smith
D Travis Campbell
M James Cohn
M Nick Marshall

LA Misioneros
GK Aldo Iniguez
D Kareem Morad
D Jose Ortega
D Angel De Alba
D Bennett Sperger
M Rene Angujano
M Victor Paredes
M Jose Diaz
M Gibran Mejia
M Victor Mendoza
F Jaime Chavez