To say FC Tucson midfielder Conner Bevens went through an emotional roller coaster on Tuesday is like saying "Gangnam Style" is catchy.
The winger from Gonzaga might not be a Korean singing sensation, but he sure was an Arizona scoring sensation Tuesday night, scoring both goals in the final 10 minutes of FC Tucson's 2-1 victory over Phoenix FC in the first round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The win sets up a road date with the San Antonio Scorpions on Tuesday in the second round of the U.S. Cup.
At the start of the day, Bevens wasn't even sure he was going to be at the match. He spent the last few days at a California hospital visiting his grandmother, who has cancer.
"I was hesitant to come," the 18-year-old said Tuesday night after his goals in the 82nd and 92nd minutes gave the men in black one of their most thrilling wins in the franchise's second year. "I knew my grandma would have kicked my ass if I had missed out on this chance."
And Tucson would have missed out on two strikes few of the 910 fans in the stands at Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5 will ever forget.
After Diego Faria's goal gave the Wolves the lead in the 63rd minute, FC Tucson players didn't hang their heads and pressed forward.
Bevens came on as a sub in the 81st minute and evened the match when his strike lofted over goalkeeper Sheldon Parkinson, who was backpedaling. The ball slipped through the keeper's hands into the net.
When asked if it was a shot or a cross, Bevens avoided the answer just like he would a stiff challenge from a defender.
"It was a goal," the winger said while smiling slightly.
Six minutes later, Saeed Robinson missed a penalty that would have put Tucson ahead.
But Robinson helped make up for it soon after. He was weaving his way through the Phoenix offense when he spotted Bevens to his right. He slotted the ball to Bevens, who struck it with the outside of his right boot. With it's unorthodox spin, the ball curled just inside the post.
"There's nothing I wanted more than to beat Phoenix," FC Tucson coach Rick Schantz said. "The guys worked really hard for this."
FC Tucson defense remained poised for the first 45 minutes, not allowing a shot in open play until the 33rd minute.
FC Tucson goalkeeper Dallas Jaye was shaken up when Phoenix forward crashed into him, earning a yellow card in the 15th minute. But Jaye recovered and pulled off a couple vital stops before the break.
Numerous times in the first half, FC Tucson midfielders Robinson and Ricardo Velasco created havoc on the Phoenix backline with their speed.
In the final minute of regulation of the first half, Robinson showed that speed and some fancy footwork. After Parkinson misjudged a high bouncing ball, Robinson slipped around the 6-foot-5-inch Phoenix goalie to track down the ball and then sent the keeper sprawling with a cutback.
Robinson's shot had to be cleared by a defender to keep it scoreless through 45 minutes.
• Who: FC Tucson vs. Southern California
• When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
• Where: Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5