FC Tucson started its season with a 2-1 home victory. [Josh Pearson, Tucson Sentinel]
FC Tucson started its season strong defeating Albuquerque FC 2-1 on Saturday night.
The game was a back-and-forth battle, for much of the first half the teams traded opportunities in front of goal. FC Tucson was lethal in the final third throughout the game, but Albuquerque goalkeeper Katherine Robinson continually stymied it. Robinson finished with seven saves in the match, but FC Tucson connected on two penalty kick opportunities to come away with the win.
FC Tucson’s first goal came in the final minute of the first half when the team was awarded a penalty kick. Forward Abbie Boswell calmly finished the penalty, to put Tucson up 1-0 at the half.
At the start of the second half, Albuquerque FC immediately proved that they were not going down without a fight. In the 52nd minute, Albuquerque’s Corey Kizer found space at the top of the box and fired a shot. The strike ricocheted off of the cross bar and redirected into the back of the net.
With the game tied at 1-1, both teams were vying for the victory. In the 92nd minute, FC Tucson earned a corner kick. In the midst of a scrum near the goal, Albuquerque’s Robinson was called for a foul. With a chance to win the game for her team, Boswell returned to the penalty spot and slotted the ball past Robinson.
Tucson general manager Charlie McCabe was thoroughly impressed with the team’s effort.
“We did a good job of creating some chances and possessing the ball in stretches," McCabe said. "The team also showed good team spirit against a very good side who really battled us tooth and nail.
"In terms of overall quality from both sides, it was the best early season game I've seen in some time.”
For the FC Tucson, the defending conference champion, the victory propels it right into playoff contention in the early portions of this WPSL season. The team is tied for first in the Desert Division after one match and is looking to build off the momentum of a first game win.
“We want to get better as a group each week and play good soccer,” McCabe said. “If we do things right, maybe even greater opportunities will be there for women in the future. We want to challenge for the conference championship.”
Westside Timbers Earn Win In Opener
Westside Timbers defeated PacNW Women on Saturday, after scoring two second-half goals.
The Northwest Conference rivals battled to a halftime draw, though PacNW had a dominant first half, for it controlled most of the possession.
PacNW created a number of dangerous opportunities in front of the Timbers’ goal, but goalkeeper Bridgette Skiba made three impressive saves to keep it scoreless going into the break.
At halftime, Timbers coach Cory Hand made a number of adjustments to increase the team’s ability to control the ball.
“The second half was about making the changes, building confidence, and getting possession back,” Hand said. “From there, we were able to generate more opportunities and ultimately convert two very good goals. Our work rate, attitudes, and defensive discipline lead to a solid result against a very talented opponent.”
The first goal came in the 64th minute from Mariah Fredericks. The Timbers clinched the victory later when Nicole LaTourette slotted a ball past PacNW goalkeeper Megan Kufeld.
The victory should serve as a launching point for a Timbers team looking to compete in arguably the most difficult conference for the Northwest Conference title.
More than anything though, Hand is hoping that the team can develop a winning culture centered around empowerment and personal growth.
“We would love to see a strong culture established that would allow these women to have the freedom to best express themselves, try new things, and grow in concepts of the game that otherwise would not be possible without the WPSL,” Hand said. “We would like to try and do all these things while ultimately being competitive for the top spot in our conference”
The Timbers are currently tied for third place in the conference, and will be looking to move further up the standings when they face off against the Sounders Women this upcoming Saturday.