TUCSON, Ariz. - FC Tucson fought back valiantly from two goals down, but Chattanooga Red Wolves SC edged out a dramatic 3-2 win on Saturday night at Kino North Stadium thanks to a late strike from Juan Galindrez.
Ricky Ruiz opened the scoring for the Red Wolves after 28 minutes, striking a pass from Blake Frischknecht cleanly into the back of the net. Tucson nearly equalized in spectacular fashion later in the half, but Giovanni Calixtro's thunderous hit from distance caromed off the crossbar.
Following Calixtro's effort, Chattanooga saw a number of shots saved by Tucson goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley, who performed well between the posts on the night. But Lapsley could do nothing about the Red Wolves' second goal, which arrived just before halftime when Chattanooga native Jonathan Ricketts powered in a header from close range.
The home side got back into the game right on the hour mark through Charlie Dennis. The midfielder came off the bench and made an instant impact, hitting an excellent precision strike from the edge of the penalty area to bring Tucson within a goal.
Dennis would then double his tally from pretty much the same spot on the field, lashing in a clever set piece pass from Daniel Bedoya to complete Tucson's comeback in the 85th minute.
It looked like the game was headed for a draw, but there was one more late twist. In the 89th minute, Galindrez cut inside on his right foot and hit a hard low shot that beat Lapsley to win the match in dramatic fashion for the Red Wolves. The goal was Chattanooga's third (and Galindrez's second) scored in the final six minutes of a game this season.
Tucson will make the trip east to play North Texas SC next weekend, while Chattanooga returns home for a meeting with North Carolina FC on Sunday, June 20.
USLLeagueOne.com Man of the Match
Ricky Ruiz, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC - Simply put, Ruiz was brilliant for Chattanooga on the night. The young forward scored his side's opening goal and assisted its other two, while also creating a game-high eight chances and winning 9 of his 12 duels.