TUCSON -- FC Tucson completed a two-game weekend sweep of Colorado Pride Switchbacks U23 on Saturday, grinding out a 1-0 win at Kino North Stadium.
Tucson has now four of its last five games and improved to 5-2-0 in league play this season.
"I'm even more happy with tonight's result than last night's (5-0 win)," head coach Dave Cosgrove said. "It's a game we haven't performed well in prior to tonight. To grind one out, be gritty, show fight against a team that I thought played really well and made a lot of good adjustments."
For the second night in a row, FC Tucson opened the scoring in the first half when midfielder Alejandro Gonzalez registered a 23rd-minute tally. Gonzalez was completely unmarked in the box on a Tucson free kick, getting his head on the end of midfielder Angel Heredia’s delivery and nodding the ball past Colorado goalkeeper David Meyer.
"Two games in a row gets you tired," Gonzalez said. "We had to play the first 20 minutes with everything we've got, get them tired a bit. They had heavy legs just like us. It was a good thing we got the first goal."
Tucson came close to adding to its lead several times. Less than a minute into the second half, midfielder Dalton Pando got loose down the left wing and fired a shot that was saved by Meyer. In the 70th minute, Heredia received a chipped pass behind the Colorado defense but couldn’t sneak a shot past Meyer. In stoppage time, substitute Daisuke Takanaka was alone with Meyer but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Early in the second half, it looked like Colorado had tied the game. After Tucson keeper Andreu Cases sprawled to make a save on a shot from point-blank range in the 53rd minute, Pride forward Kosi Nwafornso tapped the rebound into the net. The Colorado celebration was short-lived though -- Nwafornso was ruled offside, negating the goal.
It was the closest the Pride would come to finding an equalizer.
"Even when we were tired, we were still fighting and guys were heroes back there," Cosgrove said. "We got a great save from our goalkeeper, won some big balls in the air late in the game (and) the guys off the bench really gave us a lift when we were in trouble."
Cases recorded his second clean sheet in as many nights for the club. It’s the first time FC Tucson has secured shutouts in consecutive games this season.
"I think the whole team was (making) a big effort to defend," Cases said. "The forwards, they were helping us a lot, they were making my job easier. I think that's big to move forward."
The club will head back on the road next week, traveling to New Mexico to face Albuquerque Sol FC on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The team will be back at Kino North Stadium next Sunday, June 17, to face Colorado Rapids U23 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for that match are available and can be purchased at FCTucson.com.