Tucson, AZ — It took FC Tucson six PDL matches to score more than one goal in 2012. They did that in just its second match in 2013.
FC Tucson downed Southern California 3-1 on Saturday in front of a crowd of 747. The win gives FC Tucson (1-0-1) four points out of a possible six to begin the season.
"It was unbelievable," said FC Tucson forward David Clemens "I'm grateful I got the chance to be in the lineup and the fans were unbelievable. It's an awesome experience to be in front of all the fans. I mean the atmosphere is unbelievable there's nothing else I could ask for."
FC Tucson pressed the Seahorses (0-2-0) defense early and often, testing goalkeeper Cody Suppe for the first 20 minutes of the match. But the club finally broke through following a penalty called in the box after Eli Galbraith-Knapp drew a foul. Ricardo Velazco calmly stepped up to the spot of the ball and hit the back of the net on his penalty kick to give FC Tucson a 1-0 lead at the 21st minute.
Twenty minutes later, Clemens had arguably the highlight of the night despite not even scoring a goal. Clemens picked up the ball in the attacking right corner of the field. With two defenders between him and the 18-yard box, Clemens darted past the first defender's left side with a sliver of space left between him and the endline.
Then he rushed past the second defender's right side on his way into the 18-yard box.
And finally he took a quick shot that passed the goalkeeper only to slam against the crossbar.
Clemens had another chance moments later when Connor Brandt toe poked a slow-rolling pass to him into the box. The Virginia Tech product had to wait a little bit for the ball to reach him but he calmly shot the ball into the back of the net to give FC Tucson a 2-0 lead at the 44th minute.
"I felt that I could get another one," Clemens said. "I kept plugging it in, and Connor played a great ball in and I just slipped it past the goalie."
Southern California opened the second half on the attack, notching a shot on goal less than five minutes into the second frame. Then in the 49th minute, the Seahorses' Zach Bautista cut the lead to one goal.
The game slowed down a bit after the goal and neither team could create any dangerous chances. Then Southern California's Geoff Bowman earned a red card in the 83rd minute, which all but killed any chance for the Seahorses to tie the match.
Velazco iced the match with his 86th minute goal, which was his second of the match.
"It feels fantastic to finally score," Velazco said. "It's my first goal and I made one the second half (and) it feels great. The fans are great, I love them, everyone here is fantastic. I love everybody. I couldn't be more happy."
FC Tucson's next match will be on Tuesday, May 21 in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup against the San Antonio Scorpions.
FCT: '21, 9-Ricardo Velazco (PK), '44, 23-David Clemens (11-Connor Brandt), '86, 9-Ricardo Velazco (23-David Clemens)
SCS: '49, 19-Zach Bautista (23-Dylan Martinez)
FCT: 0-Micheal D'Arrigo; 19-Tim Harbison, 21-Greg Carter, 3-Connor Spence ('38, 2-Mitch Garcia; '68, 22-Kevin Gould), 6-Travis Campbell; 9-Ricardo Velasco, 11-Connor Brandt ('74, Conner Bevans), 17-Edgar Reyna, 13-Eli Galbraith-Knapp, 5-Saeed Robinson ('80, 15-Stephan Posa); 23-David Clemens
Coach: Rick Schantz
SCS: 1-Cody Suppe; 13-Seth Arriaga ('78, 8-Josh Kimball), 15-Brett Croft ('54, 17 Doug Armstrong), 21-Joao Couto, 22-Kelvin Fares ('85, 5-Adam Howard); 7-Josh Ayers ('68, 2-Josh Ault), 9-Marc Hope (‘80, 3-Abraham Santos), 12-Geoff Bowman, 19-Zach Bautista ('74, 18-Tony Montalvo); 11-Alex Anderson, 23-Dylan Martinez
Coach: Todd Elkins
FCT: '33, 6-Travis Campbell
SCS: '79, 21-Joao Couto, '90, 23-Dylan Martinez
SCS: '82, 12-Geoff Bowman
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