We know, we know – a soccer fan’s attention is a precious thing this time of year, what with the English Premier League and other European leagues starting up and the Major League Soccer race for the playoffs heating up. But take a few moments to look back (pretend the screen is blurring and the wavy lines are sending you back in time) and join with us in reviewing FC Tucson’s 2017 season.
When the team began training in April under new coach Jon Pearlman, no one could have surmised all of the glory in store over the next three months — a fourth consecutive division title, record-breaking efforts and a 10-match unbeaten streak, among many other exhilarating moments.
Along with the fourth straight PDL division title would come a 9-2-3 record and a winning percentage of .750 that is the third best season mark in team history. Among those nine victories was the 50th league win in FC Tucson’s six-year PDL history.
Another milestone eclipsed in 2017 was the 300 goals mark. The club now has 340 goals in all matches over seven seasons.
New midfielder Moshe Perez helped add to that total more than anyone, in this season or any other, by amassing 13 goals in all matches and 12 in league games — both setting new single-season records.
He wasn’t the only one to hit the back of the net multiple times, however, as 2016 standouts Afonso Pinheiro and Tate Schmitt returned to bulk up their career numbers. Pinheiro, a recent nominee to the 2017 Hermann Trophy Watch List, netted four this season to bring his career total to 14, which ties him for third on the all-time FC Tucson goals list. Schmitt moved into sixth with 11 career goals after netting four in 2017. Newcomer Danny Musovski, also on the Hermann list, sent six past the goal line.
As has become a theme over the years for the Men in Black, late-game heroics were a common occurrence in 2017. Five times the club managed to snatch a win or salvage a draw with a goal in the final 20 minutes.
A couple of those late rallies came during the club’s 10-match undefeated streak that included nine straight in league play. The overall run is the second longest winning streak in franchise history.
But it wasn’t just the players who put on strong performances. Crowds at Kino North Stadium twice passed the 2,000 mark. The crowd of 2,210 on July 3 is the eighth highest single-game attendance in team history. The throng of 2,115 on April 29 is the 10th highest.
It was a season to be remembered for many reasons. (You may now watch the wavy lines and return your focus back to all the other beauties of the beautiful game — until next April)