Colorado Rush traveled south to the home of Premier Development League stalwarts FC Tucson on Wednesday, May 10th to take part in the club's First Rou
Colorado Rush traveled south to the home of Premier Development League stalwarts FC Tucson on Wednesday, May 10th to take part in the club’s First Round match in the famous U.S. Open Cup. Rush and Tucson battled valiantly over the course of 90 minutes, with FC Tucson emerging victorious, courtesy of a 2-1 scoreline.
Tucson came out fast and were able to shock Rush with a quick goal in the first few minutes of play which came off of a corner kick that found the head of a Tucson player who sent the ball into the back of the net.
Rush was not phased by being put in a hole early and were able to regain composure and put some pressure on Tucson. In the 7th minute Daniel Woolliscroft found the equalizer as he sent a shot past the outstretched hands of the Tucson keeper that found the back of the net to tie the game.
The remainder of the first half was a strategic stand off as Tucson tried to use their pace to break down the Rush back line but to no avail. Rush maintained possession and were able to get a couple good looks on goal before the first half came to a close. In the 27th minute Colin Clark hit a free kick that curled up and over the Tucson wall that nearly missed the top of the goal.
The first half would end with Rush and Tucson knotted at 1-1 in what was turning into a hard fought physical match. The second 45 would start just how the first ended with both teams storming ahead looking for a goal.
In the 52nd minute Tucson looked to be on a breakaway down the touchline until Rush defender Bradly Gorham came across and made a hard but clean tackle to win the ball that the Tucson coach did not approve of. Gorham would earn himself a yellow card in the process and the Tucson coach found himself watching from the bleachers as he got himself ejected for having some words with the fourth official.
Towards the close of the second half Rush was visibly getting worn down by the pace of Tucson but was still managing some quality chances and keeping Tucson pinned down. In the 86th minute Rush had a flurry of three chances that all nearly breached the Tucson goal line but somehow the Tucson keeper managed to keep the ball from crossing the line.
In the 88th minute Tucson striker Moshe Perez found himself in an odd man break with the ball at his feet and was able to slot it to the lower right corner of the Rush goal just past the outstretched arms of Rush keeper Shailer Thomas.
In a last ditch effort to find a goal Thomas would come forward for a free kick in injury time that again almost found daylight in the back of the Tucson net but managed to be cleared by the defense and Tucson would get an empty net goal to seal the game.
The game would end with the score line Tucson 3 and Rush 1 but doesn’t tell the true story of the match. This was a very evenly matched game and both teams deserved a victory, Tucson was able to pull it out in the end.
After the game I was able to chat with Tucson striker Moshe Perez about his goal and thoughts on the match.
SoccerNation: This was your third game of the season and your first victory. You played BYU twice last week and then Rush this week, what was the difference today and what problems did Rush give you guys?
Perez: “BYU had been practicing together since December and we have only been playing together for a week now. I think that Colorado Rush was better quality than BYU, I just think that BYU was fitter and had been playing together longer than us. We had two practice sessions getting ready for this game and we finally started to get to know each other a little better.”
SoccerNation: It was clear that Rush had a little trouble late in the second half keeping up with your teams pace, was it your game plan to come out and make Rush run more than they were used too?
Perez: “Yes, we knew that Rush would get tired at some point and we could see it in the second half. They were a very quality team and had lots of really good players but we knew we were the fitter side and so we just kept pushing.”
SoccerNation: How relieved were you to get the winning goal tonight and move on in the U.S. Cup?
Perez: “I was very happy to get the goal but more happy that the team got the win together.”
This was a tough one for Rush to stomach but they will no doubt be back in the U.S. Open Cup next year as a side to be reckoned with. They will continue their United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) schedule as they still sit tied for first place in the Colorado conference.