Phoenix Rising FC’s winning streak reached 15 games – and its $1 Beer Night streak went to 14 consecutive victories – as it defeated Sacramento Republic FC, while Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC moved up to fifth place in the Eastern Conference in Friday night’s action in the USL Championship.
PHOENIX – Rising FC rallied from an early deficit to take a 12-point lead at the top of the Western Conference with victory against Republic FC before a sellout crowd of 7,403 fans at Casino Arizona Field. Sacramento took the lead in just the second minute as Cameron Iwasa anticipated a header by Rising FC defender Joey Farrell intended for his goalkeeper Zac Lubin and stole in to send a looping header over Lubin and into the open net, but five minutes later Phoenix pulled level as Junior Flemmings kept possession alive in the attacking third following a free kick, and his low cross from the right deflected off Sacramento defender Juan Barahona and into the net past wrong-footed Republic FC goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Sacramento went close to regaining the lead in the 17th minute when Iwasa’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was parried by Lubin, but a minute before the break Rising FC went ahead as a shot by Solomon Asante redirected off Farrell at the top of the six-yard area and caromed into the net. The teams exchanged chances late in first-half stoppage time with Republic FC’s Thomas Enevoldsen being denied on a curling finish to the right corner and Asante having a sharp chance from 10 yards kept out as Phoenix immediately counterattacked, and Phoenix’s Kevon Lambert fired a powerful shot just wide of the right post from 20 yards two minutes into the second half. Rising FC almost added to its lead with 13 minutes to go as Adam Jahn rose to head a corner kick from the right by Amadou Dia, but after Shuttleworth got a hand to the finish, defender Jordan McCrary made the decisive clearance off the line to keep it a one-goal game. Rising FC was reduced to 10 men in the final minute when Doue Mala was sent off for his second yellow card of the game, but Republic FC was unable to mount a serious threat to Lubin’s goal in stoppage time as Phoenix’s streaks lived on.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Kevon Lambert, Phoenix Rising FC – Lambert helped Phoenix control the flow of the game in midfield, recording 12 recoveries, winning 9 of 12 duels and 7 of 8 aerials and recording two tackles and two interceptions.
PITTSBURGH – An early goal by Steevan Dos Santos proved enough to give the Hounds victory against Loudoun United at Highmark Stadium. The Hounds took the lead in the fifth minute when Dos Santos beat the offside trap and ran onto a lifted pass by Neco Brett before finishing low to the right corner. Loudoun tried to hit back in the 27th minute when Robert Dambrot had a shot from 25 yards punched away by Hounds goalkeeper Kyle Morton, while the visitors also had a chance four minutes before halftime when Griffin Yow volleyed wide of the right post. United went close again six minutes into the second half as Andrew Lubahn shook off a pair of defenders 35 yards from goal but slid his finish just wide of the left post before Dos Santos sent a curling finish just over the crossbar midway through the half as he looked for his second goal of the game, but as the game wore on Loudoun began to carry more of the play. Orlando Sinclair curled a shot from 20 yards wide of the right post with 18 minutes to go, and two minutes later Christian Sorto had a shot blocked away. Pittsburgh almost added a remarkable insurance goal with a minute to go when Brett spotted Loudoun goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. off his line and launched an arcing shot from his own half that landed on top of the net, but the hosts saw out the victory to rebound from their defeat last time out.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Tobi Adewole, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Adewole put in a strong display in the center of defense, recording nine clearances, winning 10 of 12 duels and 3 of 3 tackles in the shutout for the hosts.