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GAMEDAY ROUNDUP: Asante, Rising FC Cruise Past Los Dos

By USLChampionship.com Staff, 07/11/20, 9:46PM EDT

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Fernandes scores lifts Tampa Bay to second win of season; Mares sends El Paso past Toros

Phoenix Rising FC cruised to its second victory of the season behind Solomon Asante's pair of goals, while the Tampa Bay Rowdies were made to work for victory in their home opener, and El Paso Locomotive FC picked up its first win of the season with a late goal as the USL Championship season resumed on Saturday night.

PHOENIX RISING FC (4), LA GALAXY II (0)

PHOENIX – Solomon Asante had two goals and an assist as Rising FC put in an impressive first half to pull away from the LA Galaxy II at Casino Arizona Field on Saturday night.

Rising FC took little time to get on top as a turnover in midfield saw the hosts transition quickly and allow Solomon Asante to deliver a low cross from the right to the back post where Junior Flemmings was on hand to finish. Flemmings was then brought down in the penalty area five minutes before halftime, and Jon Bakero finished low to the right corner from the spot, and Asante added a goal in first-half stoppage time with a left-footed strike that made it a three-goal lead at the break.

Los Dos’ Ivan Gutierrez almost pulled a goal back seven minutes into the second half as his surging run up the left side was capped with a curling shot that clipped the right post. With nine minutes to go, however, Asante added his second of the night on a deflected shot that took the ball away from Galaxy II goalkeeper Abraham Romero to wrap up all three points for the hosts.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Solomon Asante, Phoenix Rising FC – Asante returned to action with a positive performance, including a fine finish in first-half stoppage time that added to a great early assist.

EL PASO LOCOMOTIVE FC (1), RIO GRANDE VALLEY FC (0)

EL PASO, Texas – Dylan Mares scored his first goal for Locomotive FC to hand the hosts a late victory against the Toros at Southwest University Park on Saturday night.

Chances were limited in the first half with the Toros’ Robert Castellanos sending a header wide of the left post off a free kick the only serious opportunity for either side. El Paso picked up the pace to start the second half and almost took the lead in the 50th minute when Mechack Jerome launched a long-range free kick just wide of the right post.

Andrew Fox also had a low shot saved midway through the second half by Toros goalkeeper Paul Blanchette, and Mares saw a free kick deflect off the defensive wall and clip the outside of the right post with nine minutes to go. Two minutes later, however, Mares broke forward to run onto a knockdown by Josue Aaron Gomez and fired a low shot just past Blanchette for Locomotive FC’s first goal of the campaign, and that proved the difference between the Texas rivals.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Dylan Mares, El Paso Locomotive FC – Mares notched the late game-winner and also hit the woodwork while also completing 46 of 56 passes overall in the middle of the park. 

TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (2), ATLANTA UNITED 2 (1)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rowdies left it late, but Leo Fernandes’ goal with three minutes to go earned victory against Atlanta United 2 at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night.

Atlanta suffered an early blow when Amir Bashti was sent off in the seventh minute for bringing down Tampa Bay’s Lewis Hilton as he broke toward goal at the top of the penalty area, but it was the visitors that took the lead on an outstanding finish by Jackson Conway as he picked out the top-right corner with a curling finish from 35 yards.

The visitors withstood pressure from the Rowdies to the halftime whistle, but Tampa Bay leveled the score in the 61st minute as a low cross by Juan Tejada from the right was turned home by Lucky Mkosana at the near post. Then, off a free kick by Lewis Hilton from the right, the Rowdies grabbed all three points as Forrest Lasso’s initial effort was saved, but Fernandes was on hand to clean up the rebound.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Leo Fernandes, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Fernandes not only scored the decisive goal late, but had three shots overall, three key passes and completed three dribbles in a good all-around performance.

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