Tucson, AZ — Goalkeeper Dallas Jaye thought he played against Ventura County forward Anthony Salciccia when the two were younger. That was the only piece of information he had on the forward before facing off with him during a second-half penalty kick.
"(I) had no previous knowledge of where he was going to go, so I just picked a side and went with it," Jaye said.
Jaye went right. The shot went right. And the South Florida keeper palmed it away to preserve FC Tucson's shut out en route to a major 2-0 win over the Fusion in front of a crowd of 874. FC Tucson is now just six points behind Ventura County and the coveted second-place spot in the Southwest Division.
FC Tucson was holding on to a 1-0 when Jaye made his save in the 59th minute. Dakota Collins put the club up 1-0 in the 4th minute, after fighting off a defender and then curling the ball into the far-left upper corner for the match's first goal.
The club continued playing well following the goal, attacking more than their counterpart and creating plenty of chances but failing to hit the back of the net. But then FC Tucson hit a bit of a slog the rest of the first half, suffering from the hangover effects of coming out of the gates so quickly. Head Coach Rick Schantz said he had to be honest with his club.
" ‘The first half wasn't something we were really proud of," said Schantz recounting his halftime speech. " ‘And if we're going to win this game we're going to have to battle: have to dig really deep.' And I said ‘FC Tucson and our franchise is known for never giving up and fighting until the end.' And I'm very proud of the guys. That's what the second half was."
Added Jaye: "Rick pumped us up. He was very straightforward with the team. He told us after that first half we were lucky to be up 1-0 at that point. And he got us pumped up to come out and give a little bit more in the second half."
Just five minutes following Jaye's super save, Gabe Silveira tapped in his team-leading fifth goal of the season to give FC Tucson its 2-0 win.
The thrill of victory will be short lived for the club. FC Tucson will face Ventura County again on Sunday night. A win would pull them within three points of the Fusion with three league matches left for both clubs A loss would put FC Tucson back to nine points behind the Fusion with three league matches to play. A draw would keep the point difference at six.
"The focus tonight was to get three points," Jaye said. "Our backs are against the wall a little bit so every game we need to get that result. And we came out here and did that tonight and that was huge. … Ventura is a good team and we're going to have fun playing them again on Sunday.
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