PHOENIX – Rufat Dadashov scored twice while Junior Flemmings added his 12th goal of the season as Phoenix Rising FC took a 5-1 victory against Las Vegas Lights FC at Casino Arizona Field on Friday night to extend its lead to eight points at the top of Group B.
The game opened relatively quietly as Phoenix’s Kevon Lambert headed over after a short corner on the right in the 15th minute, while a minute later Las Vegas almost sprang Raul Mendiola on a through-ball that Rising FC goalkeeper Zac Lubin was alert to claim coming quickly off his line.
The hosts took the lead in the 26th minute, however, as Lambert again rose to head goalward off a corner from the left by Jon Bakero, and Dadashov got a final touch just inside the six-yard area to nab his ninth goal of the season. Lights FC almost had a chance to level six minutes before halftime when Lubin mishandled an angled cross from the right, but Joe Farrell quickly smuggled the ball behind for a corner to avert the danger.
Recent Las Vegas arrival Quincy Amirakwa also had a chance a minute before halftime as he turned to create space for a shot from the right side of the penalty area that Lubin parried away. Less than a minute later, however, Phoenix had its second as Corey Whelan stepped into a good challenge that sent the ball the way of Flemmings, who quickly moved the ball the other way before sending Santi Moar in behind Las Vegas’ back line. The Spaniard drew Las Vegas goalkeeper Thomas Olsen before unselfishly slipping the ball to his left for Dadashov to notch his second.
Bakero almost added a third less than a minute into the second half as his first-time shot from the top of the penalty area rattled the woodwork, but then two goals in 67 seconds gave Phoenix control of the game for good. In the 55th minute, Dadashov played a pass in to Flemmings from the left flank, and the Jamaican made a clever spin move to lose his marker before shooting low into the right corner of the net.
Flemmings then served as playmaker as he slid a through-ball for Sam Stanton into the left side of the penalty area that Stanton coolly slotted home into the opposite corner of the net. Lights FC tried to find a way back into the game as both Javan Torre and Rashawn Dally had efforts saved by Lubin, but with 19 minutes to go a foul on Moar resulted in a penalty kick that Bakero dispatched into the bottom-left corner of the net as Olsen dove the opposite way.
Lights FC got on the board with eight minutes to go as Grant Robinson took a pass from the left and led Bryan De La Fuente into the penalty area for a first-time finish that picked out the bottom-left corner. The hosts would see out the game from there, however, to remain perfect on home turf this season.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Rufat Dadashov, Phoenix Rising FC – Dadashov had two goals and one assist to reach double-digit goals for the season in another emphatic home performance by Rising FC.