RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Sunday, July 2, 2017) -- In just their first season in existence, FC Arizona has clinched the Southwest Conference Division following a 2-0 win over Riverside on Sunday night. Alejandro Aguilar scored the go-ahead goal in the 85th minute from a brilliant Cesar Mexia assist and Mexia secured the victory with a goal in the second minute of stoppage time.
FC Arizona also finished the regular season with an undefeated record (12-0-4) and they have clinched the #1 seed and home field in the West Region playoffs.
The first round of the playoffs will be played Friday, July 14 at 8:00 p.m. at Mesa Community College. Click here to purchase tickets.
The fate of the 2017 regular season came down to one match on Sunday night as a win or draw against Riverside would clinch the division for FC Arizona. A Riverside win, plus a win next week and they would be division champions.
With a lot of the line, both squads came our strong and hungry and it was FC Arizona who had the first chance in the 25th minute when Mexia's shot from a tight angle just missed high. Ten minutes after this, Chris Ramsell sliced up the Riverside defense on a clever run and fired from distance. His shot, directed at the far post, hit the post and bounced out of the danger zone. Riverside then answered back in the 42nd minute and FC Arizona goalkeeper Andrew Weber made a diving save on a strong shot just on the edge of the box.
In the 55th minute, FC Arizona was denied again by the post when Aguilar fired from inside the box. In the 67th minute, Riverside earned a free-kick just on the edge of the box. The free kick came in and FC Arizona was the beneficiary of the post this time.
In the 76th minute, it looked as if FC Arizona had the go-ahead goal. David Alton sent in a cross and Aguilar headed the ball for the far post. The Riverside goalkeeper was able to punch the ball out at the last second.
The goal finally came in the 85th minute when Mexia dribbled around the last defender on the right wing.He cut into the box, and played a ball back to Aguilar who finished. In the second minute of stoppage time, Mexia took advantage of a poor clearance by Riverside, dribbled to the touchline, cut to the inside, and calmly finished for this ninth goal.