TUCSON, AZ - FC Tucson beats prospective PDL team, Frontera United, 5-2 in friendly.
Frontera United, an independent team from Yuma, visited Kino North Stadium, Tuesday night, to get a feel for the environment in Tucson and the level of play in the Premier Development League (PDL). Frontera have made their intention to join the PDL very clear. FC Tucson is, currently, the only PDL team located in Arizona. Eager to see more PDL teams locate in Arizona, FC Tucson was happy to host the Yuma side for a game and provide Frontera an opportunity to view the world class soccer facilities at Kino Sports Complex.
The friendly presented an opportunity for Head Coach Rick Schantz to test some players who hadn't, yet, broken into the starting eleven. Justin Bilyeu was the only player in FC Tucson's starting lineup who started in Saturday's game against the Mobsters.
Frontera kicked the game off and, a minute later, the ball was placed back in the center circle. Frontera's Donal Landrum received a low cross in the center of the box, touched it past one defender, and drove an impossibly angled shot under FC Tucson goalkeeper Keegan Rogers. The goal came before FC Tucson had a chance to posses the ball.
It took FC Tucson all of eleven minutes to get back in the game. A play developed up the right flank. Three passes across the top of the box caused the ball to land at the feet of Nestor Jaramillo. Jaramillo cut the ball back, found some space and curled a shot into the top corner. The equalizing goal came in the 12th minute and transferred the momentum to Tucson.
A goal reminiscent of Pedro Espindola's against the Mobsters, last weekend, came
just three minutes later. In the 15th minute, defender Devante Dubose received the ball outside the box on the right side, and served a cross to the head of Dominic Scotti, who directed the ball down, off the turf and into the net.
FC Tucson would hold the lead through the remainder of the first half, and head to the locker room with a 2-1 lead.
When the teams resumed play, Frontera was the more energetic side. In the 50th minute, United sprung a counter attack that saw the ball reach the left side of FC Tucson's 18 yard box. After two passes in the area, the ball fell to Arturo Valle who faked a shot on goalkeeper Keegan Rodgers, then touched the ball past him and finished the chance.
Five minutes later FC Tucson took the lead back when six passes, starting in Tucson's defending third, delivered the ball to Nestor Jaramillo at the top of Frontera's box, where the midfielder netted his second of the game. FC Tucson took the lead, 3-2.
FC Tucson would go on to win 5-2 with goals coming from Cylus Sandoval in the 60th minute, and Austin Ledbetter in the 86th. Although the match was a friendly, the result was meaningful for the players and coaches. "For both halves, the first couple minutes we didn't start well. We came out kind of slow" said standout midfielder Nestor Jaramillo. "After that we were able to get our stuff together, and we played a lot better. At times we went down, at times we went up, but overall it was pretty good performance for the team."
Head Coach Rick Schantz expressed his satisfaction with the result, as well. "After today, I feel that I've got a really good handle on where all of the players are" said Schantz. "I'm feeling pretty strong about our first 15 or 16 (players) at this point."
When asked about Frontera United potentially joining FC Tucson in the PDL, Coach Schantz said that he would love to see them in the same division. "Hopefully more teams in Arizona, or in our area, will join the league. It'd be good for PDL."