USLSoccer.com Staff Report
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
TUCSON, Ariz. – Arizona United SC took in-state bragging rights over the PDL’s FC Tucson as Chris Cortez scored a pair of late goals to earn a 3-1 victory for the USL club at the Desert Diamond Cup on Wednesday afternoon.
“I felt we did a good job of keeping [the attack] going,” said Arizona Head Coach Frank Yallop. “An important part of the game is to come back from when you let down and concede a goal. We came right back and did a good job to score two late ones.”
The game was played over three 30-minute periods, but despite carrying much of the play in the first period Arizona was unable to take the lead. Former Tulsa Roughnecks FC forward Gibson Bardsley finally broke the deadlock in the 38th minute as he ran onto a well-flighted cross by Jose Cuevas, took a touch to control and finished low past the goalkeeper.
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Tucson hit back 12 minutes later as standout forward Connor Bevans took a cut-back from the right side, cut past his defender and fired a low shot into the left corner of the net to leave the score level after 60 minutes.
Cortez, a former standout for Orange County Blues FC, earned Arizona victory in the final period, however, as he sent home a near-post header from a cross from the left by Blair Gavin five minutes after the break. Cortez added a third shortly after as a low cross by Scott Morrison picked him out 15 yards out for a left-footed finish into the right corner of the net.
After being held to a scoreless draw by Swope Park Rangers in their last outing, Arizona’s players were pleased with their improvement in the final third.
“In our last game, we didn’t score any goals, so that was our main focus this game,” said Cuevas. “[Last Saturday] I thought we did well defensively. We did well in the midfield. We just needed that end product. And I think today we showed that we can do it and it’s just going to keep getting better and better.”
“I like what I’ve seen,” Yallop added. “I think we’ve done a good job of keeping the ball well and creating a bunch of chances and on another day we could’ve scored more goals.”