Dom Papa scores game-winner in first half

Tucson, AZ (Saturday, June 2, 2012) — FC Tucson’s flair for the dramatic continued in a 1-0 win over the defending southwest division champion Fresno Fuego at Kino Sports Complex North, Field # 5.

“These guys are going to give me a heart attack,” joked FC Tucson head coach Rick Schantz

In front of 686 screaming fans, FC Tucson may not have scored the game-winner late in the game, but the team’s goal was the result of a mad scramble for the ball that would make any fans’ heart tick faster. Reid Schmitt’s corner kick was headed toward the goal and saved by Fresno’s Beau Diaz. The ensuring scramble looked more like a mass of arms and legs than anything resembling soccer.

After several tense moments, the ball came out to forward Kevin King, who shot the ball toward the net. Forward Dom Papa heeled the shot through the Diaz’s legs for the lone score.

“It’s pure instinct,” Papa said. “You don’t really have time to think, you just react. So I was lucky to put myself in a good position to be right in front of the goal; saw the ball come; just reacted and it went in.”

FC Tucson was the aggressor for most of the first half, out shooting Fresno 10-0 in the first half. Donny Toia had two great scoring opportunities in the first five minutes of the game. In the 2nd minute Toia broke free on the left side of the box and took an open shot but missed wide right. In the 5th minute Toia’s header off a Schmitt corner sailed over the net. Toia had another chance with a header in the 25th minute, but missed wide left.

“After ten minutes I thought we found our rhythm,” Schantz said. “We were close to having the same starting line up two games in a row, so that helps a little bit.”

Schantz said he was happy with the flow of play but he said the team is still struggling to find a final ball to score. He also said fatigue played a role in the second half of the game. It showed on the field as FC Tucson couldn’t string together the same kind of build ups they were successful at in the first half.

Fresno took advantage attacking more in the second half, but the FC Tucson defense and goalkeeper Brendan Roslund kept the Fuego from scoring a late goal to steal a point.

“They were missing some players and we knew that and I think we should’ve done better in the first half to take care of the game,” Schantz said. “This is what happens at this level when you don’t put a team away it ultimately comes back to bite you. The last 15-20 minutes were really interesting.”

FC Tucson improves to 4-1-0 in league play. Fresno Fuego drops to 3-3-3.

Notes: FC Tucson continues it’s shut out streak. The team has shut out its last four opponents for a total of 360 minutes. The last time an opponent scored was on May 5, when Fresno’s Nini Blanco scored in the 84th minute. Including that game, FC Tucson’s total shut out streak is 366 minutes.

To check out photos from the game, click here.

Goals:
’34 — FC Tucson: Dom Papa (Kevin King)

Cards:
‘7 — Yellow: Trevor Spurgeon (Fresno)
’77 — Yellow: Jesus Santiago (Fresno)
’78 — Yellow: Jesus Santiago (Fresno)
’80 — Yellow: Kevin King (FC Tucson)

Starters:
FC Tucson
GK Brendon Roslund
D Conor Spence
M Reid Schmitt
F Donny Toia
F Max Alvarez
D Michael Kraus
F Dom Papa
M Kevin King
D Kareem Smith
M Colin Anderson
D Travis Campbell

Fresno Fuego
GK Beau Diaz
D Manny Ochoa
D Trevor Spurgeon
D Eddie Gonzalez
D Isaiah Trejo
M Araiah Berhane
M Abraham Campos
M Eddie Gutierrez
M Gustavo Silva
F Tyler Reinhart
F Paul Islas