Aaron Long scores first FC Tucson goal of 2013.

By H. Jose Bosch

Despite giving up a late first-half goal, FC Tucson rallied in the second half and drew the Los Angeles Misioneros 1-1 in the 2013 season opener on the road.

“The most important aspect of today’s game was we had 17 players play, we had no injuries, we got a point on the road and we learned a ton about our team and about our players,” said FC Tucson head coach Rick Schantz.

FC Tucson’s lone goal came in the 74th minute off a corner kick from Saeed Robinson. Midfielder Aaron Long made a near-post run toward the right side of the goalmouth and fired a header toward the net that bounced off a Los Angeles defender before going in.

It was the crowning moment of what had been a very productive half for Long. The UC Riverside product was a second-half sub for Tyler Wilson and made the most of his 45 minutes. According to Schantz, Long’s work rate was high and the midfielder was all over the field, disrupting the Misioneros’ attacks and helping FC Tucson (0-0-1) push forward.

“It was extremely hot so I knew (Los Angeles) was going to be a little bit tired from playing the first half, so I just wanted to press them a bit,” Long said.

Los Angeles (0-1-1) opened the match’s scoring when a free kick from about 30 yards outside of the goal was deflected on its way to the net. Starting keeper William Thompson had the shot read but had no chance at getting in front of the deflection.

Despite allowing the tough-luck goal, defender Travis Campbell said the team was still confident.

“I don’t think we were too worried because we knew we had them” Campbell said. “Toward the end of the first half they were dying out because they weren’t as fit as us.”

FC Tucson’s next match will be on Tuesday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. against the Phoenix FC Wolves in the opening round of the U.S. Open Cup. The club’s next PDL match will be on Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. against the Southern California Seahorses. Both matches will be played at the Kino Sports Complex North Grandstand.

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