PHOENIX – Santi Moar quickly made himself at home at Phoenix Rising FC’s new 10,000-seat stadium at Wild Horse Pass on Friday night, recording one goal and two assists to lead the hosts to a 4-1 victory against San Diego Loyal SC at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex on ESPN2.
After a choppy start, Phoenix found its feet and almost grabbed the lead when Moar cut in from the left and delivered a slide-rule pass to Rufat Dadashov that the Azerbaijani international fired on net, only to be denied by San Diego goalkeeper Trey Muse. Dadashov threatened again soon after, firing a shot that Muse tipped onto his right post to keep the game scoreless.
Muse put in a stellar display over the course of the game, finishing with eight saves overall, but Phoenix grabbed the lead in the 39th minute as a cross from the right by Solomon Asante off a short corner floated over the crowd in the penalty area and was driven back on goal by Ryan Flood. The shot was parried by Muse, but rebounded to Jon Bakero, who turned the ball back on goal with the defense helpless to notch the first goal at Rising FC’s new home.
San Diego opened the second half with more purpose, but in the 54th minute Rising FC doubled its lead. Moar cut in from the left and laid a pass off for a first-time shot by Bakero that Muse was again able to parry, only for Moar to react first and put home the rebound into the left corner of the net.
SD Loyal cut the deficit in half 11 minutes later as a challenge by Phoenix’s Tobi Adewole to deny a chance to Jack Blake redirected the ball straight to second-half substitute Ben Spencer, who was clinical with his finish against his former club. But Phoenix quickly regained its two-goal advantage two minutes later as Moar sent an unmarked Aodhan Quinn into the left side of the penalty area for a powerful finish to the right corner.
Moar again played a key role as Phoenix wrapped up victory with 10 minutes to go as he cut in from the left and picked out Kevon Lambert, whose low shot from 25 yards took a slight deflection on its way to the bottom-right corner of the net. Lambert’s back-flip celebration captured the mood at the final whistle as a loud Rising FC crowd rose to its feet to laud the defending Western Conference Title holder.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Santi Moar, Phoenix Rising FC – Moar had a goal, two assists and six key passes, posing a consistent threat down the left side every time the ball reached him with a chance to run at goal.
PHX – Jon Bakero 39’
PHX – Santi Moar 54’
SD – Ben Spencer 65’
PHX – Aodhan Quinn (Santi Moar) 67’
PHX – Kevon Lambert (Santi Moar) 80’