One point needed to clinch first postseason in franchise history.
Tucson, AZ (Sunday, July 8, 2012) — All season long FC Tucson players and coaches, and even opposing players and coaches, have talked about how great the home crowds have been. Now in its final home game of the regular season, FC Tucson can give its fans the ultimate “thank you”: clinching a playoff spot.
FC Tucson needs just one more point to reach the playoffs in its first PDL season, but settling for a draw against the Ogden Outlaws is the last thing on anyone’s mind. Just moments after the team’s 3-0 win over BYU on Friday night, Reid Schmitt liked FC Tucson’s chances.
“We’re going to win the game,” Schmitt said. “And then we’re going to make it into the playoffs.”
Coming into the weekend FC Tucson needed seven points to clinch a playoff spot. The team’s win over BYU knocked the Cougars out of playoff contention and cut FC Tucson’s magic number down to just four points. Then the playoff race took an unexpected turn on Saturday night: the Fresno Fuego lost to Pali Blues. Because of that loss, FC Tucson just needs one more point to ensure they can’t be caught by Fresno.
The last time FC Tucson played the Ogden Outlaws, the team won 3-0 on the road. But as the Pali win over Fresno demonstrated nothing can be taken for granted near the end of the season, even when a team no longer has a chance to make the playoffs.
Still, FC Tucson comes into the final home game of the season after playing arguably its most complete game of the year. The coaching staff’s emphasis on possession during training over the last week helped the players think quicker in possession. That allowed them to find more space and create more opportunities on Friday night, which led to three goals.
Said Schmitt following Friday’s game: “We just need to keep winning. I think the loss to Ventura last weekend; personally I think it was good for us. It made us sit there and know how it feels to lose and we needed to come back and keep winning through to the playoffs.”
FC Tucson may have three more games remaining this season, but the team wants to make sure Sunday’s game is the last one that matters. It’s the last thing they could do for the home crowd.
“You want to send (the crowd home) wanting more,” said FC Tucson Associate Head Coach and General Manager Jon Pearlman. “The only way you can do that is to have a convincing performance, not only with great defending, but great attacking soccer as well.”
And a trip to the postseason.
FC Tucson’s match against the Ogden Outlaws is tonight, July 8, at 7 p.m. at Kino Sports Complex, Field #5. Tickets are $12 and can be bought at the gate beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Southwest Playoff Scenario
FC Tucson can clinch if:
-The team earns one point in its three remaining games (a tie).
- Fresno loses its last game of the season.
Fresno can clinch if:
-The team wins its final game of the season and FC Tucson loses its remaining three games of the season and it finishes with a better goal differential. Heading into Sunday night’s game, FC Tucson’s had a better goal differential (+9) than Fresno (+2)