A familiar set-piece combination led to a first-half goal and FC Tucson came away with a draw in a western shootout with North Texas SC at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday night.
The teams combined for 32 shots with FC Tucson amassing 13. The Men In Black, in the middle of a stretch of five matches in 15 days, picked up a point to go along with Wednesday’s home win.
Both teams had a number of chances in the opening 20 minutes of the game before the flow of the game was altered when North Texas SC’s Edwin Cerrillo was shown a red card for a head-butt into Charlie Dennis’ chest.
The Men In Black (3-5-2, 11 points) spent the next 15 minutes controlling the ball and tempo, but then the match reverted to original form with the squads trading offensive forays. FC Tucson defender Samuel Biek’s shot from a corner bounced off the crossbar in the 40th minute and, within seconds, North Texas SC forward Arturo Rodriguez’s laser shot rebounded off the post.
FC Tucson keeper Amal Knight kept it scoreless with a couple of saves, including smothering Rolando Damus’ offering just inside the 18-yard box.
It looked like both teams might get away unscathed in the first half, but the combination of Dennis and Elivelton, which accounted for the lone goal in Wednesday’s win, came through again for FC Tucson. After Shak Adams was fouled about 2 yards outside the box on the left side, Dennis’ free kick found Elivelton — one of three unguarded Men In Black at the far post — and the Brazilian nodded it down and watched it bounce up into the netting. Seconds later, referee Gloria Resendiz whistled for halftime.
North Texas SC (2-2-5, 11 points) came out in the first 15 minutes of the second half trying to find cracks in the FC Tucson defense. The Men In Black then started to craft some chances on counterattacks. In the 68th minute, substitute Manuel Ferriol’s low, hard strike had to be pushed aside by keeper Carlos Avilez.
The Texas team evened the match in the 71st minute when Dominick Hernandez’s right-footed shot just outside the box skipped along the ground and past Knight.
Both teams had chances in a ragged final 10 minutes — including a shot by Adams that went wide just seconds before the final whistle — before settling for the draw.
It’s another quick turnaround for the Men In Black, who will host Forward Madison FC on Wednesday, Sept. 23. The match will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Kino North Stadium.