PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — For its second match of the season, FC Tucson had to take a seven-hour van ride to the Los Angeles area and then play a match about three hours after arriving.
With a roster limited to 14 players, Tucson’s new semipro soccer team took on the Pali Blues last Saturday in a match full of ups and downs. With little rest for the weary, FC Tucson headed home the next morning to complete a 34-hour journey and begin focusing on tonight’s home opener.
A fan in the whirlwind
As the team takes the field a lone figure in the stands raises his “Cactus Pricks” scarf while cheering on the team. Sandro Soler, wearing a Los Angeles Galaxy jersey and a Russian winter hat, says he traveled to Tucson to see the Galaxy play at the Desert Diamond Cup in March. There, he met up with FC Tucson’s supporters group, the Cactus Pricks, and picked up the scarf. He decided to drive down from Valencia to watch the match.
He is the FC Tucson fan amid a smattering of about 100 Pali Blues faithful.
In the 25th minute, forward Donny Toia, a former Canyon del Oro High School and Pima College standout, steps up to take a penalty. The Pali keeper guesses the correct way, diving to his right, and pushes the ball away.
At halftime, coach Rick Schantz uses his calm pre-game voice. “First of all, you all have to recognize you’re on the road and it’s 0-0. “It’s not like you’re down 3-0 and you should be bitching at each other like you’re little children on the field. It’s 0-0; you gotta stay composed. … We don’t need to win 7-0 or 4-2, OK. One-zero, and we’re outta here is going to be just fine.”
Read more about FC Tucson in Saturday's Arizona Daily Star.
• What: FC Tucson vs. Southern California Seahorses
• When: 7 p.m.
• Where: Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5
• Tickets: fctucson.com and 1-877-840-0457