PHOENIX – The attacking trio of Rufat Dadashov, Solomon Asante and Junior Flemmings all found the net as Phoenix Rising FC returned to the win column with a 3-1 victory against El Paso Locomotive FC on Saturday night at Casino Arizona Field.
With both teams looking to rebound from defeat last time out, El Paso got off to an ideal opening as it took the lead in the 15th minute through Josue Aaron Gomez. A clever piece of interplay at the top of the penalty area resulted in Dylan Mares slotting a through-ball that Gomez got to and poked his finish past advancing Rising FC goalkeeper Eric Dick to put the visitors ahead.
The advantage was short-lived, though, as Phoenix was awarded a penalty kick three minutes later when El Paso defender Drew Beckie was adjudged to have brought down Sam Stanton as he burst into the area. Dadashov and sent Locomotive FC goalkeeper Logan Ketterer the wrong way with a shot to the bottom-right corner.
Dadashov added an assist to his goal nine minutes before halftime as he sent a pass from midfield out to the right side and Asante. The 2019 Championship MVP moved into the space ahead of him and unleashed a powerful shot that found the top-left corner of the net.
Flemmings almost got in on the act in the third minute of first-half stoppage time when he had a well-struck finish parried away for a corner kick by Ketterer. Moments before the halftime whistle blew, however, the Jamaican international tracked down a long pass by Jon Bakero deep on the left side, wove into the penalty area past two defenders and fired a shot into the roof of the net for a two-goal halftime lead.
Phoenix almost added a fourth just before the hour-mark when Dadashov was played in behind the Locomotive FC defense but Ketterer came quickly off his line and picked Dadashov’s pocket as the Azerbaijani forward tried to go round him to finish. El Paso immediately went down the other end of the field and almost pulled a goal back as Gomez was played in by Mares but this time saw his effort tipped wide by Dick.
Locomotive FC began to get on top as it looked for a way back into the contest but was unable to find a way past Dick to make things interesting late. The Sporting Kansas City loanee produced a big double-save to keep out two chances for Marios Lomis off a free kick by Lomis to keep it a two-goal game. That proved to be the biggest scare for the hosts, however, as a curled effort by Omar Salgado floated high in stoppage time for El Paso’s final chance of the night as Phoenix secured all three points.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Rufat Dadashov, Phoenix Rising FC – Dadashov had a goal and assist while also recording four chances create for the contest, playing a decisive role in Rising FC coming back from its early deficit.