PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC reeled off three goals in the span of 13 minutes within the opening half-hour of the game as it took a 3-1 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC at Wild Horse Pass to remain seven points clear at the top of the Pacific Division standings as Arturo Rodriguez notched a pair of assists on the night.
The Toros looked to get an early jump on their hosts in the third minute as St. Vincent and the Grenadines international Kyle Edwards delivered a curling shot from distance that was saved by Phoenix’s Ben Lundt. Rising FC also had a pair of threatening moments early off set pieces, but in the 14th minute it took the lead as Darnell King picked up possession on the right side and cut back to deliver a ball with his left foot that eluded everyone in the penalty area and found the bottom-left corner of the net.
Five minutes later Phoenix struck again, this time in more conventional fashion as Aodhan Quinn picked up possession in the left channel and played a give-and-go with Santi Moar in the penalty area before guiding a low shot from the left side of the penalty area into the bottom-right corner. Edwards threatened again for the Toros in the 23rd minute as his low shot from the left side of the penalty area to the near post was turned away by Lundt, and then four minutes later Rising FC added its third of the night as Rodriguez delivered a free kick from the left that was volleyed home by Rufat Dadashov from eight yards out.
The Toros persisted in attack and almost pulled a goal back when Juan Carlos Azocar got in on the right side but lifted his finish over the crossbar as Lundt came off his line. Tate Schmitt then hit the woodwork for Rising FC 10 minutes before halftime as a cross by Quinn and was flicked on in the middle of the box before Schmitt lunged to try and finish only to send his shot off the crossbar. Schmitt had another chance early in the second half as his effort off a pass by Dadashov was saved by the Toros’ Tyler Deric before Dadashov’s effort on the rebound was blocked away to safety.
RGVFC went close to a response with a cleverly worked free kick routine that saw Rodrigo Lopez deliver a low pass behind the cluster of bodies anticipating a cross in the penalty area for a shot by Azocar that was deflected wide of the right post. Ten minutes into the second half, however, there came a breakthrough as Adrian Vera delivered a fine cross from the left that Azocar nodded into the right corner of the net.
A direct move up the field almost saw Solomon Asante restore the three-goal lead for the hosts as he rattled a shot from the right side of the penalty area that required a punched save by Deric to send the ball behind for a corner kick. The Toros then went close again with 25 minutes to go as Lopez shot for the top-left corner from 25 yards that was tipped over by Lundt, but as the second half wore on the chances for the visitor to get back into the game began to dwindle. Rising FC defender Joe Farrell made a timely intervention to snuff out one chance with seven minutes to go, and while the visitors pushed late to find a finish the hosts saw out the contest to claim a third consecutive win.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Arturo Rodriguez, Phoenix Rising FC – Rodriguez provided a pair of assists on the night and completed 39 of 50 passes and six key passes overall to help lead Phoenix’s first half flurry of goals that led to the side’s victory.
PHX – Darnell King (Arturo Rodriguez) 14’
PHX – Aodhan Quinn (Santi Moar) 19’
PHX – Rufat Dadashov (Arturo Rodriguez) 27’
RGV – Juan Carlos Azocar (Adrian Vera) 55’