FC Tucson pulled off their second consecutive upset in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, beating the San Antonio Scorpions 4-3 in penalty kicks after drawing 2-2 in regular time to advance to the third round of the tournament.
The Scorpions looked like the better team throughout most of the game, but they just could not capitalize on the plethora of scoring chances they had. FC Tucson, however, did capitalize on the small number of chances they had, beating a team that is two tiers above them in the U.S. soccer pyramid.
The Scorpions looked like they were on their way to victory after the first half, dominating the time of possession and taking a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute after Kevin Harmse’s perfect header off of a corner kick from Walter Ramirez.
Although starting out slow, the Arizona squad eventually got more of a grasp on the game and became more persistent about challenging the Scorpions on their possessions. FC Tucson’s persistence finally paid off when Ricardo Velasco’s shot in the 55th minute went in the net from outside the box after multiple attempts to dribble through the Scorpions’ backline.
FC Tucson would then take the lead in the 67th minute when Saeed Robinson tapped in a cross near the right post after a succession of great passes.
“FC Tucson didn’t give us a lot of space to play, and that means you start overcommitting players forward and that opens you up for the counter attack,” Scorpions’ Head Coach Tim Hankinson said. “They were very good at breaking and putting players up the attack.”
The Scorpions would fight hard to score the game-tying goal, attacking hard and playing everyone forward in attempt to score. They finally got their chance when FC Tucson was called for a penalty in the 90th minute right after San Antonio’s Luka Vucko shot on goal. Hans Denissen then buried the penalty in the top right corner of the net, sending the keeper the other way and the game into extra time.
Extra time featured much of the same characteristics as regular time, with the Scorpions getting many chances to score but not capitalizing on any of them. San Antonio’s Esteban Bayona was in position to put two headers in the back of the net, but he placed both of them just over the cross bar.
Extra time ended in a 2-2 tie, and penalty kicks ensued. FC Tucson would prevail in penalties, after making all their shots and taking advantage of the Scorpions’ two misses.
A victory for FC Tucson means that they will play the Houston Dynamo in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.
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