— USL League One (@USLLeagueOne) July 18, 2021
The temperature keeps rising, and the monsoons are blowing through, so it shouldn’t be so surprising, the Old Pueblo is home to the hottest team too.
FC Tucson beat New England Revolution II 4-2 Saturday night in Kino North Stadium to improve to an even slate of 4-4-4 in the United Soccer League – League One (USL-1) and the victory moved the Men in Black into a grouping of clubs within striking distance of the top of the league but still on the edge of falling off completely.
RELATED: FC TUCSON OVER NEW ENGLAND 4-2
With 16 points, FC Tucson is the only team in the USL-1 with only one setback against multiple wins over the last five matches. The team is still considered a long shot to move into the top level thanks to a very rough start but one more victory could see the program move safely into realm of competitor rather than doormat.
The team went 0-2-2 in June and FC Tucson president Amanda Powers made the difficult but correct move, as she relayed to me during the undefeated and championship season of the FC Tucson Women program she successfully oversaw this summer, to hand the coaching duties of the men back to current Vice President of Soccer Operations and former head coach Jon Pearlman.
“The FC Tucson organization would like to thank (former head coach) John Galas for his dedication and commitment to this club,” Powers said in a release dated June 29. “John persevered with us through a very challenging season last year as we all navigated the COVID-19 pandemic together, and his contributions to FC Tucson are greatly appreciated.”
A founder and co-owner of the program, Pearlman went 18-7-3 as the previous head coach (2016-17) before he left to guide Oklahoma City Energy FC. He has been working with Powers over the last two seasons to help transition the program from League Two to League One and his service to the local soccer community goes back a quarter century – it includes an AIA state championship coaching Sabino High School in 2005 and a runner-up finish in 2006.
With legendary coaches Kelly Pierce leading the women and Pearlman the men, Powers helped make Kino North a destination for soccer loyalists who want to be part of a winning tradition.
RELATED: FC TUCSON WOMEN FINISH UNDEFEATED
There are still 16 matches left on the schedule with nine of those taking place at home beginning with a match against the top team in the league in Union Omaha (6-1-5) next Saturday night at 7 p.m. Omaha has 23 points and three of those came in a 1-0 victory at their home in Papillion, Nebraska. Keeper Wallis Lapsley collected five saves in the loss in a match where the Men in Black had 13 shots to the 11 put together by Omaha but only one of those shots was on target for Tucson.
That match proved one shot can be the difference between the top and the bottom and home cooking, complete with fans under a monsoon sky, could be the key to a successful season.
LINK: FC TUCSON TICKETS
This is the first installment of “Old Pueblo Abuelo,” a Sunday thought on positive things happening in the Old Pueblo from a grandfather born in Tucson.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he is a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at [email protected]