La Mirada, CA — Time on the road and on the pitch does a lot to help a team gel but time in training sessions can bring everything together. FC Tucson is learning that the hard way following a tough 1-1 draw with the Southern California Seahorses.
"We're going to have to get home and get some rest and it'll be nice to actually train for a few days to prepare for a match," said FC Tucson Head Coach Rick Schantz. "We've just been going from game to game and trying to recover and then play, recover and then play and it's very difficult."
Since FC Tucson's PDL home opener against the Seahorses on Saturday, May 18, the club hasn't had more than two consecutive days of training and they've trained on back-to-back days just once. In that same stretch, the club has had six matches and seven travel days.
But the road-weary club didn't seem phased as Saturday's match opened up. FC Tucson attacked the Seahorses well, having a lot of success attacking the left side of the defense through Conner Brandt and David Clemens. The first real scoring opportunity came in just the 4th minute, when Brandt found Clemens with a cross that was blocked by the diving keeper.
FC Tucson continued its attacks, finding plenty of space in and around the goal box, but the connecting passes weren't quite sharp in the attacking third and many build ups wound up ending with a turnover.
Clemens finally broke the stalemate in the 35th minute.
"I was coming down the left side and I was cutting in and I was looking for Dakota (Collins) in the middle but I did a fake shot roll and the defender fell and I got to the goalie and did another fake shot roll and he went down too and I was just able to put it in," Clemens said.
Knowing a goal wouldn't be enough, FC Tucson continued pushing forward and pressuring the Southern California defense in the second half. In the 51st minute Bevans slipped passed the defense into the box and had a shot on frame but it was easily blocked by the keeper.
A little more than 10 minutes later, Gabe Silviera had space just 20-25 yards out and swung the ball at the far post but missed high and wide.
In the 72nd minute Collins had a point-blank opportunity against the goalkeeper, but SoCal's Cody Suppe deflected the ball enough to send it wide of the near post.
In the 73rd minute, defender Greg Carter out-leapt his mark on a corner and headed the ball toward the far upper 90 but it also went high and wide.
Plenty of chances and nothing to show for it.
Then in the 80th minute, the Seahorses' Aurelian Norest collected the ball outside of the left corner of the box. He sent an inswinging cross outside of the far post that found his teammate Dylan Martinez. He headed the ball back to the middle at Josh Ault, who slotted the ball under goalkeeper Michael D'Arrigo to equalize.
"(The players) are young and they don't understand that being up 1-0 (late), we had too many turnovers," Schantz said. "We should've kept the ball. We should've been more patient. Instead they were trying to hold the ball a little too much individually and trying to do too much."
FC Tucson will now have some time to spend at home. The club has back-to-back home matches on June 6 (OC Blues Strikers FC) and June 8 (Fresno Fuego). But more importantly, the club will have three consecutive days to train together as a team leading up to a home match.
"It's definitely difficult when you're on the road all the time (and) it's difficult to find your rhythm," Clemens said. "But it's not really an excuse. We're going to get back to Tucson this week and we're going to be ready for this Thursday.
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