Arizona United win second straight game, eye surprise playoff appearance

Arizona United left it late to beat LA Galaxy II on Saturday night


Nicholas Tirella/Northeast Valley News

Arizona United forward Dennis Chin (15) passes the ball back to one of his teammates as he is marked by opposing LA Galaxy II defender Oscar Sorto (36).

Stephen Sanicola, Reporter

In a game that seemed evenly matched, Arizona United were able to come out on top with a 2-1 victory against the top team in the United States League West, LA Galaxy II.

This makes it a two-game win streak for an Arizona United team hopeful of sliding into a playoff spot. Galaxy II came out strong at the beginning of the first half, creating chances and keeping possession on Arizona United’s side of the pitch. Six minutes before halftime, however, the atmosphere and momentum of the game changed dramatically as United forward Long Tan scored the first goal of the game and the 600th goal of the USL’s history.

The lead lasted up until the 75th minute as standout Galaxy II forward Bryan Olivera managed to break through United’s defense and tie the game up at 1-1. The outcome of the game seemed to be in favor of Galaxy II at that time, especially when United forward Aaron Dennis received a red card just minutes after the Galaxy II goal.  Determined to win, the West’s number-one team continued pressing up the pitch to try and find a last-minute goal.  United goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski went to work and stood his ground as he defended attack after attack late in the game.

In the 90th minute, defender Tyler Ruthven rifled a midfield free kick over a crowd of Galaxy II defenders, and the ball landed right at United forward Schillo Tshuma’s feet. Tshuma managed to evade his marking and score a last-second goal that decided the game.  The crowd roared and the team celebrated as United held on for the 2-1 win.

“We kept our heads high and kept fighting for that goal and it came,” Woszczynski said.

With their next game against Real Monarchs SLC, United will look to continue this win streak and shoot for a playoff spot.

“There are a handful of games left,” Woszczynski. “We need three points out of every one so we have to take it one at a time.”

Dennis Chin, who assisted on Tan’s first half goal, emphasized the importance of the win and is hopeful about how the team will end the season in the playoffs.

“We’re obviously in good form right now,” Chin said. “We just want to take that into the last few games and finish strong.”

United will attempt to keep the momentum going through the final four regular season games and maybe, just maybe, into the West playoffs.