Team still has outside shot at Southwest division title.
Tucson, AZ (Wednesday, July 11, 2012) — With a playoff spot already clinched, FC Tucson has very little to worry about heading into its final weekend of the regular season. Instead, the team will again focus on scoring, FC Tucson’s biggest weakness during an otherwise impressive debut PDL campaign.
“We have to work on our weaknesses,” said FC Tucson forward Max Alvarez said. “I think defensively we’re doing pretty good but I feel our main problem right now is scoring goals.
FC Tucson is currently second-to-last in goals scored in the Southwest Division with 17 goals. The Southwest division’s worst scoring team, Pali Blues, has scored 11. But the team’s headline-making defense and goalkeeping is what has kept FC Tucson in the postseason picture thanks to a nation-leading eight goals allowed (FC Tucson is tied with three other teams).
“We have to work on finishing,” Alvarez said. “That’s what we’re doing right now.”
Just like last week, FC Tucson’s training sessions focused primarily on improving performance in the final third of the field. On Tuesday morning, the team spent nearly the entire training session on shooting in preparation for the final weekend of the season and beyond into the playoffs.
Even though a postseason spot has been clinched, FC Tucson still has an outside shot at winning the division title. Should division-leading Ventura County lose its final two games of the season, FC Tucson would finish at the top of the table by winning their final two games. It’s a long shot, but it makes FC Tucson’s final two games more than just working on weaknesses.
“We’re there to win the games … and having that momentum heading into the playoffs,” Alvarez said.
Who FC Tucson will play will be determined by the end of the weekend. Unlike the Southwest Division, the Northwest Division uses play-in games to determine the two teams that will play in the Western Conference Championship. The top four teams in the division qualify for the play in games. No. 1 Sounders FC will play No. 4 Washington Crossfire while No. 2 Kitsap Pumas (the defending PDL national champions) will play No. 3 Portland Timbers.
FC Tucson will likely play the highest seed that wins its play-in game, meaning they could play any one of the top three teams in the division. The Western Conference Championship, which features two teams from the Northwest Division and two teams from the Southwest Division, will be held at one host site to be determined by July 15. The Western Conference Championship begins July 20.
FC Tucson at Southern California Seahorses, 7 p.m.
FC Tucson at OC Blue Star, 8:00 p.m.
Fans can follow both games online at Facebook (www.Facebook.com/FCTucson) or on Twitter (@FC_Tucson).