PHOENIX – Joey Calistri’s goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time – the second for Phoenix Rising FC in the added minutes – gave the hosts a 2-2 draw against San Diego Loyal SC on Saturday night as Santi Moar scored for a seventh consecutive regular season game to tie a club record at Wild Horse Pass. The late goals canceled out finishes in either half by San Diego’s Miguel Berry and Jack Blake, which had appeared to do enough for victory before Rising FC’s late flurry.
Looking to avenge their-season opening loss, SD Loyal had the first chance in just the third minute as a cross from the right by Blake looking for Miguel Ibarra was intercepted but looped toward Corey Hertzog for a volleyed finish from 15 yards that went just wide of the left post. Phoenix also went close in the 10th minute as a corner kick came out to Jeremy Kelly, who fired a shot from 25 yards that curled just wide of the left post.
The hosts had another chance with 15 minutes gone as they were awarded a free kick to the left of center 25 yards from goal that Solomon Asante tried to curl into the right corner of the net, an effort that San Diego goalkeeper Trey Muse appeared to have covered. SD Loyal took the lead in the 19th minute, however, as Berry battled to win possession off a long clearance upfield and after getting into the right side of the penalty area the former University of San Diego standout rifled a shot into the left corner of the net.
Elijah Martin almost made it two for the visitors just past the half-hour mark as he made a well-timed interception in midfield and drove forward before taking a shot that deflected off his defender and looped up toward goal, requiring Phoenix goalkeeper Andre Rawls to tip the ball onto the crossbar and behind. Phoenix looked to apply more pressure in the closing stages of the half, but a late header by Darnell King off a corner by Jon Bakero from the right went high as San Diego went to the break ahead.
Phoenix came out aggressively to start the second half, too, but their pressure was met by solid resistance from the SD Loyal defense as it looked to contain Asante and Moar. The visitors had a chance of their own just before the hour-mark as Hertzog fired a shot from 25 yards that skipped in front of Rawls as he turned it wide of the left post, while Phoenix almost equalized in the 67th minute with a low shot by Seyi Adekoya that fired off the left post and went away to safety.
SD Loyal doubled its lead with 19 minutes to go, however, as Blake received possession Black doubled SD Loyal’s lead as he received a pass from Collin Martin near the top of the penalty area and deftly curled home a shot from 20 yards just inside the right post. The visitors then almost added a third with eight minutes to go as Blake played a ball in front for a sliding finish by Tumi Moshobane, but Rawls was equal to save.
Rawls made another big save in the final minute as Moshobane fired from 25 yards only to see his effort tipped over the crossbar. That kept Phoenix alive, and in the first minute of stoppage time the hosts finally found a breakthrough as Moar lashed home a finish from the right side of the penalty area after an initial shot by Arturo Rodriguez was blocked.
That spurred Rising FC on, and Rawls almost proved the hero at the other end of the field as he came up for a late corner kick from the right. The ball came to the goalkeeper after it had sailed over a pack of players at the near post in the left side of the box, but his finish went narrowly wide of the left post. Calistri salvaged a point for Phoenix with almost the final kick of the game, however, as another corner kick fell to him, and the midfielder delivered a shot through traffic into the right side of the net to leave honors even.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Arturo Rodriguez, Phoenix Rising FC – Rodriguez had a key impact in turning the game around for Phoenix, first having a shot blocked before Santi Moar capitalized on the rebound before providing the assist on Joey Calistri’s winner on his seventh key pass in 18 minutes of action.
SD – Miguel Berry 19’
SD – Jack Blake (Collin Martin) 71’
PHX – Santi Moar 90+1’
PHX – Joe Calistri (Arturo Rodriguez) 90+7’