Sporting AZ FC showed its mettle in a 3-2, comeback victory over visiting Southwest FC in a United Premier Soccer League Southwest Conference semifinal Saturday night at Highland High School. Alejandro Aguilar recorded a hat trick for Sporting AZ FC.
The home side saw a nightmare start, however, when in the fourth minute Southwest’s Christian Garcia got on the end of a cross to put a header into Andrew Weber’s net. Aguilar would respond a moment later with a nifty finish off the ball from Paul LaMarca, tying the score again early.
Aguilar doubled his fun in the 13th, when he chased down a long ball from Jon Guse and beat a defender and the Southwest keeper for a poke over the top and a 2-1 lead.
The second half started with a bang as well, with Aguilar netting his hat trick in the 48th and Southwest responding just four minutes later.
The match was chippy after that, with multiple cautions issued to each side, but the hosts were able to hold on in the end.
With the 3-2 win, Sporting AZ FC moves on to face FC Grande of Las Cruces, N.M., next Saturday the 14th in the Southwest Conference final. A win would put Sporting in the UPSL National Playoff next month in Colorado.
Sporting AZ FC Starters: Andrew Weber, David Paul, (c) Jon Guse, Dom Papa, Chris Green, Tony Cascio, Noel Castillo, Paul LaMarca, Alejandro Aguilar, Ismael Santana, Danny Arrubla
Subs: Mo Salama, Eijin Kishimoto, David Alton, Danny Arellano, Julien Dragomir, Heber Mena
Image courtesy of Grace Stufkosky