PHOENIX – Solomon Asante scored a pair of goals and Ben Lundt recorded an eight-save shutout as Phoenix Rising FC took a 3-0 victory against Tacoma Defiance on Saturday night in an action-packed game before 7,316 fans at Wild Horse Pass that saw Santi Moar’s quest to tie the Championship’s record for consecutive games with a goal come to an end.
After rallying late last time out, Phoenix got out on the front foot against the Defiance as a cushioned pass by Jon Bakero set up an early low shot for Asante that was saved by Tacoma’s Spencer Richey. The Defiance almost grabbed the lead in the 13th minute, though, as Samuel Adeniran took advantage of an errant pass to move toward goal before curling a shot from 25 yards toward the left corner that was turned wide by Lundt.
Lundt had to come up with another good save to deny Adeniran three minutes later as the Tacoma forward got into space on the left and moved into the penalty area before firing a shot that the Rising FC goalkeeper parried before a defender sent the ball behind the goal for a corner. Adeniran was then denied again in the 18th minute by Lundt as his header off a cross from the left by Jimmy Medranda was saved before it found the right side of the net.
After Tacoma’s flurry of chances, Phoenix had one of its own midway through the half as Joey Calistri fired a low shot from 25 yards that went just wide of the left post. Five minutes before the halftime break, however, Asante put the hosts ahead as he found space in the attack penalty area and unleashed a shot from 25 yards into the top-left corner of the net just past the diving Richey.
Phoenix threatened to double its lead two minutes into the second half as Moar delivered a cross from the left that Rufat Dadashov got a slight touch to as it went on goal before Richey sent it wide. Adeniran then created a huge chance to equalize as he intercepted a pass across the Phoenix back line and broke in one-on-one with Lundt, but his finish was too close to the goalkeeper who was able to save.
Asante struck again 10 minutes into the second half, however, as he picked up possession 30 yards from goal and fired a shot that took a big deflection on its way to goal, leaving Richey wrong-footed as it flew into the right side of the net. Four minutes later the Ghanaian had a chance at a hat trick after a corner kick was held in the penalty area and came to him in the right side of the penalty area, only for his shot to find the outside of the side netting.
Phoenix almost added to its lead with 16 minutes to go when Prince Saydee fired a low shot from 20 yards toward the bottom-right corner that Richey got down to save, but six minutes later Phoenix native Tate Schmitt marked his debut on loan from Real Salt Lake with a goal as he received a pass from Moar and wriggled past a defender before shooting into the left side of the net.
Tacoma almost pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute when a cross from the right came to Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez alone in the left side of the penalty area, but once again Lundt turned his shot aside. Looking to cap the game with a goal in an eighth consecutive game, Moar had a late chance in stoppage time but rang the upright to bring his streak to an end, but the hosts saw out the victory after a thrilling contest.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Solomon Asante, Phoenix Rising FC – Asante produced another highlight-reel finish to open the scoring and finished the night with two goals, five shots and two key passes to lead Rising FC to victory.
PHX – Solomon Asante (Joey Calistri) 40’
PHX – Solomon Asante (Jeremy Kelly) 55’
PHX – Tate Schmitt (Santi Moar) 80’