FC Arizona have begun life well in the National Premier Soccer League in 2017, securing their first league victory with a dominant 4-0 win over Oxnard Guerreros this past Saturday. After a goalless draw against Orange County FC in their season opener, the club have earned two consecutive clean sheets thus far.
Strong Defensive Base Propels FC Arizona to Successful Start in NPSL
Head coach Aidan Davison, a Premier League goalkeeper in his playing days, has helped assemble an organized and disciplined defense. An expansion side will always face difficulties in squad cohesion ahead of their first campaign, but intelligent player acquisitions appear to have set up FC Arizona for an exciting first year in the NPSL.
Excellent support from East Valley soccer fans has been present as well, as their opening matches at John D. Riggs Stadium in Mesa have seen impressive enthusiasm from the local community. Led by the Rampants Supporters, the club have created an electric atmosphere that has no doubt helped to spring the team towards early success.
The signs were present during pre-season preparations that the line-up was beginning to gel, as a 5-0 victory over UPSL side Real San Jose displayed FC Arizona’s ability to control proceedings out on the field.
Former Portland Timbers goalkeeper Andrew Weber has provided fantastic leadership and brings with him a wealth of experience, keeping his back-line in optimal positions to stifle the opposition’s attack. Along with the likes of Mo Salama and Dominic Papa in good form, FC Arizona have been able to win possession often and dictate the pace of their early games.
Playmakers in the attack
After a 0-0 draw to start the campaign against Orange County, there was concern that the attack was struggling to find their feet and produce in the final third. Saturday, however, was certainly a step in the right direction.
Kenny McAvoy and Chris Sanchez both showcased great stamina and clinical finishing, each scoring a goal against Oxnard Guerreros and covering large acres of space throughout.
As players become more comfortable with one another within manager Aidan Davison’s formation, FC Arizona should expect the goalscoring exploits to continue.
Possession in the midfield
Two clean sheets to start the season can be attributed to a magnificent ability to keep possession in the midfield and push the ball forward into the attack.
Clearing out scoring opportunities for the opposing sides and transitioning efficiently to the forwards will likely be able to continue this defensive trend for FC Arizona.
The road ahead
FC Arizona return to action this Saturday, looking to keep their unbeaten streak alive when they host Albion SC Pros. But a key test will arrive during their first away matches in the NPSL Southwest Conference.
The club travel west after the coming weekend, playing at City of Angels FC (4/8) and Sports Club Corinthians USA (4/15). Aidan Davison will need to ensure that his team are prepared for the unique challenges of playing away from their home ground.
FC Arizona wanted to see results early in their inaugural season. With motivated players and an aim for their undefeated beginning to continue this weekend, the club are positioned well for the type of success that was planned for.