Photo courtesy Colorado Rapids
TUCSON, Arizona – Phoenix Rising FC had chances early and late but was unable to capitalize in a 1-0 defeat to Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids on Saturday night in a preseason contest at the Kino Sports Complex to wrap up the 2021 Visit Tucson Sun Cup. Rapids’ midfielder Michael Barrios scored the only goal of the match in the 19th minute.
Closing out its fifth week of an eight-week preseason campaign, largely against Major League Soccer competition, Phoenix opened against the Rapids looking as good as it had this year. Santi Moar proved a handful for the Rapids’ defense with his willingness to take on defenders, creating two decent shots, but both were comfortably handled by Rapids goalkeeper William Yarbrough.
“The first 20 minute of the match, I thought we were very good,” said Rising FC Head Coach Rick Schantz. “We got in-behind them quite a few times. We didn’t serve the ball in well again. We’re lacking that killer instinct a little bit right now, but it will come.”
Phoenix goalkeeper Andre Rawls – who joined Rising FC on loan from the Rapids this preseason – made a diving save at the near post to keep out a shot by Colorado’s Diego Rubio in the 18th minute. A minute later, however, the Rapids broke through as a quickly-taken free kick by Younes Namli found the feet of Michael Barrios, who took his chance well, hitting a hard shot that got past Rawls at the near post to make it 1-0.
Rubio threatened again late in the first half with a shot that went just over the crossbar, and Namli forced a big save out of Rawls in the 62nd minute that the goalkeeper tipped wide. Phoenix almost hit back shortly after when a cross from out wide found forward Rufat Dadashov, only for his turning effort to deflect off a Rapids defender and go behind for a corner.
Two-time defending USL Championship Most Valuable Player Solomon Asante also created a chance for Dadashov to pull Phoenix level with 10 minutes to go as he cut inside from the right flank and slipped a cross to Dadashov. The striker hit a first-time shot well, but the chance skipped wide of the post. That was the final chance for the Championship side to level, however, as the Rapids closed out their preseason with a win.