FC Arizona got a much-needed win at home Saturday night against Temecula FC to solidify its fourth place standing in the NPSL West Region Southwest Conference, ensuring a playoff run for the final two weeks of the season.
“Big win tonight, direct with a team that has aspirations of getting in the playoffs,” FC Arizona coach Maxi Viera said. “We need to win next week.”
FC Arizona has 14 points in 10 games, six points ahead of fifth place Riverside Coras, who play ASC San Diego on Sunday. San Diego is two points ahead of FC Arizona.
FC Arizona finishes the regular season on the road at Riverside on June 10 and FC Orange County on June 15. FC Orange County is a point ahead of FC Golden State, which still has three games left to play.
The top two teams in the conference advance to the postseason with a third team – the winner of a June 30 play-in game between the third and fourth place finishers – also qualifying.
On Saturday, Cesar Mexia opened the game and scored in the first two minutes.
The FC Arizona captain stressed in the team huddle how important it was to win tonight.
“It's a big win for us, getting those three points, it’s definitely going to give us momentum going into the last two regular season games before playoffs,” he said. “We just got to keep working throughout the week. We have a good team. We didn’t start the season too well but we just have to keep working.”
“We were lucky that we opened within two minutes we score,” Viera said. “Things start getting open a little more.”
That first goal allowed the team to play without the nervousness of the game.
Twenty minutes later, Betto Renteria, on an assist from Mexia, scored the second goal.
Josh Drak scored in the 38th minute, giving FC Arizona a 3-0 halftime lead.
Tyler Feeley got a header in the 54th minute and what felt like just a few seconds later, Nacho Cancela scored his own.
Feeley scored one more in the 84th minute, making the final score 6-0.
“We score all the chances we have,” Viera said. “We created a lot of chances in the past and couldn’t score.”
The NPSL West Region playoffs begin July 7.
“It’s a great win for the future,” Viera said.
FC Arizona won a friendly match against the University of Arizona club soccer team 9-1 on Friday at Mesa Community College’s Riggs Stadium.
Nacho Cancela and Cesar Mexia each had hat tricks for FC Arizona, which is 3-4-2 in NPSL play this season.
“It’s good to get some confidence so you can finish,” head coach Maxi Viera said. “It’s not the same finish as practice with the comfort zone.”
Viera said playing friendly games at this point in the season can cause problems too.
“You can get hurt, and we are in the position to play with our direct opposition the (Riverside) Coras and Temecula.” he said. “We depend on ourselves,”
FC Arizona right now is sitting at fourth place in the standings of the NPSL.
“Fourth place plays third place and then you go reseed again.” he said. “Here we have a long year and things happen every day and what we are trying to do is survive and hope for better days ahead of us.”
Cancela got the first of his three goals just six minutes in and Josh Drack made it 2-0 six minutes later. Mexia scored in the 27th minute to give FC Arizona a 5-0 advantage at halftime.
“Arizona is a tough game,” Viera said. “Showed Albion and Golden State and Orange County that we are not an easy team and we will give lots of headaches if we go to the playoffs.”
FC Arizona next plays Temecula FC at home next Saturday, June 2, at 7 p.m.
The team traveled to Del Sol Stadium in Oxnard, California on Saturday in an important conference game. The game kicked off at 6:30 pm and was a defensive battle through 75 minutes, with the score knotted at 0-0, until 2 year veteran FC Arizona player Nacho Coba scored in the 76th minute to put FC Arizona ahead 1-0. The game ended 1-0. FCAZ needed the win and the 3 points to stay in the playoff hunt, as the top 4 teams make the playoffs in the NPSL Southwest Conference. FCAZ currently sit in 4th place in a very competitive conference this season. The team is home at MCC Stadium, Friday night against U of A Wildcats. Kick is at 7 p.m. and tickets are available online or at the Gate.