FC Tucson and Richmond Kickers ended in a 0-0 draw Saturday night at Kino Sports complex.
The hosts nearly opened the scoring in the 20th minute, as Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu found Luke Hauswirth in space on the right flank. Zach Wright connected with Hauswirth’s service into the box, but Akira Fitzgerald reacted well to keep his looping header out.
Minutes later, Joe Gallardo almost broke through on the opposite end for Richmond, taking advantage of a missed header by an FC Tucson center back. After the ball fell to him, Gallardo beat another defender, making space for a shot, but Philip Ejimadu was equal to it, keeping out the left-footed effort.
Tucson looked to have finally broken the deadlock in the 57th minute from a set piece. Jose Terron served a deep ball into the box from the left flank, welcoming Lamar Batista to nod it back across. Batista’s header found his center back partner Kyle Venter who knocked it home, but he was whistled for offside and the goal was waved away.
Devyn Jambga fired a shot just wide of the right post in the 68th minute after a well-worked FC Tucson counterattack.
GOALKEEPER WARS - Both Tucson’s Ejimadu and Richmond’s Akira Fitzgerald shined in the 0-0 draw. Despite only making two saves each, both were quick off their lines and commanded their penalty areas well to earn clean sheets. Fitzgerald now has five clean sheets, which is second in the league, and Ejimadu has three.
ROAD TRIPPING - The trip from Richmond to Tucson is the longest, in terms of miles, in League One. The Kickers should feel positive leaving Arizona with a point after the cross-country trek, despite the fact that it extends their winless run to four matches. The glass-half-full approach is to see the result as breaking the club’s three match losing streak.
HOME STRUGGLES - Tucson on the other hand will feel like they should have taken all three points from the match. If FC Tucson are going to be in the conversation for top four spot come October, they need to start earning maximum points at home to combat their rough travel schedule. With back-to-back home draws, Tucson has only earned nine of a possible 18 points at Kino Sports Complex this season.
IMPRESSIVE BUILD UP, POOR FINISHING - Both sides created enough chances to win the match Saturday night, but neither could convert. The in ability to finish chances was uncharacteristic, as both clubs rank in the top four in shot conversion in the league. Despite the poor finishing, Joe Gallardo and Devyn Jambga were both impressive for their respective sides. Look for them to continue to find the back of the net this season as they try to pull their clubs up from the bottom of the standings.
LUCKY NUMBER 12 - Saturday’s draw brings both Tucson’s and Richmond’s point total to 12, putting them level with Orlando City B, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, and Greenville Triumph SC. The five clubs tied on 12 points sit just one point behind fourth place Lansing Ignite FC. The logjam in the middle of the table make the next few weeks vital as each club looks to separate themselves from the pack.
Toronto FC II opened the scoring in the 29th minute following a corner kick. Patrick Bunk-Andersen picked up the loose ball after Lansing failed to clear the corner and served a long ball towards the back post from the right side. Matthew Srbely nodded the ball back across the six to Shaan Hundal who calmly finished from three yards out. The goal was Hundal’s second in two games.
The referee awarded TFCII a penalty following a Lansing handball in the 51st minute. Hundal stepped up, looking for a brace, but his penalty was poorly struck and easily saved by Stephen Cleveland.
TFC II doubled its advantage in the 81st minute following another set piece. Srbely struck a stinging shot on frame that Cleveland failed to save cleanly. Bunk-Andersen was quickest to the rebound, nodding it home.
Substitute Jordan Perruzza danced past a his defender and slotted a left-footed shot past Cleveland at the near post in the 92nd minute to seal the three points for Toronto FC II.
HOME TURF - With the victory over Lansing, Toronto improved its home record to 3-0-0 on the season. The win also extends TFC II’s unbeaten run to four games, narrowly missing out on taking all 12 points from those matches after conceding a late goal in the 2-2 draw with Chattanooga Red Wolves SC last weekend. The recent run of good form has moved Toronto into third place in the standings, just two points behind second place South Georgia Tormenta.
ORGANIZED DEFENSIVELY - After giving up four goals in two games last week, Toronto regained its defensive stability against Lansing to earn its fourth clean sheet of the season. The hosts were defensively sound throughout the match, limiting the Ignite to three shots on target all of which came from distance and failed to trouble goalkeeper Kevin Silva.
STREAK SNAPPED - The loss in Toronto was Lansing’s first in five matches, snapping the club's longest unbeaten stretch of the season. The Ignite will remain on the road and look to rebound from Saturday’s loss next week in a visit to Greenville Triumph SC.
HIGH FLYING ATTACK - Toronto has now scored eight goals in its previous three matches. TFC II continue to look dangerous on the wings with the pace of Week 10 Player of the Week Jacob Shaffelburg and Terique Mohammed as the team went on to put 11 shots on frame and pumped three past a Lansing side that entered the match with back-to-back clean sheets. Toronto has rotated several players in around Shaffelburg and Mohammed and all have looked equally as dangerous. Griffin Dorsey and Matthew Srbley were especially effective against Lansing, playing seven key passes and registering three shots between them.