Wildcats continues spring soccer tune-ups with match vs. Sun Devils

Ted Prezelski
5 Min Read

Arizona Wildcat soccer put on an amazing defensive performance against pro-side Houston Dash last month, conceding only a single goal to the NWSL team. It has turned out to be high point of the spring season so far since it was followed by multiple goal losses to an RSL youth side and UBC Vancouver.

The problem, says coach Becca Moros, is that the team isn’t making the most of their chances when they get the ball into the offensive third.

“You create more opportunities, whatever your finishing percentage is, you score more goals,” she said. “We just didn’t quite have composure when we got across the midfield line and even less so when we got another 15 yards higher up the field.”

Spring matches are a chance to work on tactics before bringing in a new crew of freshmen in the fall. They have also been a chance to give some little used players from the last seasons to shine. Over the course of two seasons, forward MacKenzie Moring only got on the field in two matches, but had an early goal against Vancouver two weeks ago. Midfielders Shanti Weddington and Jessica Ramirez have emerged as key players as well.

The match kicks off at 7 p.m. at Mulcahy Stadium.

Pineda to coach Tucsonenses

FC Tucson’s men’s side let go of head coach Mark Biagi last month after a season that saw them only miss the playoffs by a whisker. This week, the team announced the hiring of Sebastian Pineda, who has been coaching in FC Tucson’s system since 2022.

Columbia-born Pineda’s resume includes a season as an assistant coach at Duquesne University and play at Austin AzTex, OKC Energy and, of course most relevantly, two seasons for FC Tucson.

“Since I was a player this felt like home to me,” the former Tucsonense defender said. “It’s an honor and I’m excited to get this opportunity… it shows what the club has been able to throw on the field all these years… being able to be a platform for player players to develop and grow as players.”

FC Tucson owner Jon Pearlman noted that Victor Verdugo will be staying on as goalkeeper coach. The team has also dismissed longtime coach of the women’s side Kelly Pierce. An announcement of a replacement is pending.

Aguilera out at Red Stars

Arizona’s all-time leading scorer Jill Aguilera is looking for a new team.

Last week, the Chicago Red Stars announced that Aguilera had been cut from the side. This is part of a number of changes including other players being waived and numerous signings, including UCLA sniper Ally Cook.

The team has gone through a raft of changes since a demand made by players at the end of the 2022 season that the team owner — who was named in a report detailing sexual abuse in the league — divest the Red Stars. The team was sold to an investment group led by Laura Ricketts late last year. The turmoil was no doubt a big part of why the team ended the 2023 season dead last.

Your intrepid Sentinel soccer scribe saw a Red Stars match last year against North Carolina. The team got thrashed 5-0, but Aguilera was part of a group of late game subs that gave the team some sorely needed energy.

That, plus her international record of three goals in nine caps for Puerto Rico, means she likely will not be without a team long. Watchers of the women’s game point to teams with a more attacking-minded style like San Diego Wave would be a better fit for her.

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Ted Prezelski , www.tucsonsentinel.com
Sports news | TucsonSentinel.com , 2024-03-16 16:05:38
Tags: sports, soccer, college, pro, amateur, breaking, asu, becca moros, chicago red stars, fc tucson, jessica ramirez, jill aguilera, mackenzie moring, sebastian pineda, shanti weddington, sun devils, ua, wildcats, Wildcats continues spring soccer tune-ups with match vs. Sun Devils, Soccer notes, Tucson, Tuscon, TucsonSentinel, Tucson Sentinel, TusconSentinel, Tuscon Sentinel, Sentinal, TucsonSentinal, Tucson local news, Tucson news, University of Arizona, UA, Arizona news, Ariz., AZ, Arizona, Marana, Oro Valley, Green Valley, Sahuarita, Pima County, Mexico, Nogales, immigration, Border Patrol, Tucson Citizen, TucsonCitizen.com

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