Symmetrical halves left the Albuquerque Sol (2-5-2) and FC Tucson (6-2-2) soccer teams tied 2-2 in front of an announced Sol record crowd of 2,282 at the UNM Track and Soccer Stadium Saturday night in Premier Development League play.
In each half, early Sol goals were swiftly answered by FC Tucson.
The Sol’s Sam Gleadle played with unrivaled energy as the lone striker atop the Sol’s defensive 4-5-1 formation.
“We can play different formations and still be effective,” Gleadle said. “I kind of try to be a pest and annoy them the whole game.”
He did that in the 10th minute off a feed from Grayson Dupont. A quick turn gave Gleadle the space needed to curl the opening goal home.
FC Tucson found an answer courtesy of its captain Tate Schmitt, who scored in the 15th minute.
In a bizarre sequence to start the second half, FC Tucson goalie Luis Barraza was flagged by the assistant referee for handling the ball outside his area. The Sol’s Jack Clancy scored directly off the resultant free kick in the 51st minute, firing a low shot through the FC Tucson wall.
FC Tucson scored in the 59th minute on a rebound tap-in by Kevin Partida. Jason Beaulieu did well to stop the initial shot but could do nothing about the follow-up. Partida appeared to be in an offside position but the flag stayed down.
A Beaulieu foray off his line in the 73rd was nearly a disaster for the Sol, but some desperate team defending denied FC Tucson a third goal.
The physicality increased as the match continued. FC Tucson poured men forward in search of a winner but couldn’t score.
“There was a different focus to us tonight, I’m proud of the group, proud of the point,” Sol manager Matt Gordon said. “We fully deserved the result and perhaps a little more.”
The sides meet again Monday in Tucson.
NOTES: In the fourth minute the crowd stood silently and held up the number 4 to honor the memory of Pat Grange, a former UNM soccer player who died from ALS at age 28. Grange wore the 4 for the Lobos. The Sol also held a raffle to raise money for the New Mexico Chapter of the ALS Association.
… The Sol was left with a short bench Saturday with just four reserves on the team sheet. Forward Luke Lawrence was inactive because of an ankle injury he suffered in training. Starting midfielder Sammy Kahsai left the club this week because of a family situation.