PHOENIX – For a second consecutive outing, Darren Mattocks notched a first-half goal that stood as the winner as Phoenix Rising FC took a 1-0 victory against Oakland Roots SC at Wild Horse Pass on Saturday night to maintain their undefeated home record this season.
The hosts got out on the front foot quickly and Darnell King fizzed a shot from the top-right edge of the penalty area just wide of the left post after just 64 seconds. Rising FC proceeded to take the lead in the 10th minute as Aodhan Quinn’s free kick from the right was allowed to bounce once by the Roots SC defense before Darren Mattocks finished from close range for his fifth goal since arriving in Arizona.
Roots SC got a chance to respond with a set piece of their own in the 20th minute when Jose Hernandez sent a low corner kick from the left into the near post where it was flicked on and just sent wide at the far post by Kai Greene with a diving header. The visitors went even closer three minutes later when Akeem Ward was played into space down the right and clipped a cross that Lindo Mfeka fired of the crossbar before the ball was cleared to safety by the Rising FC defense.
Phoenix had a chance to double its lead just before the half-hour mark, meanwhile, after Arturo Rodriguez gained possession on the left after a cross through the six-yard area and cut inside for a low shot that went just wide of the left post. Solomon Asante then almost capitalized on a giveaway in the Roots SC half but shot wide of the near post from the right side of the penalty area.
The hosts continued to assert themselves and Rodriguez had another chance on a snap shot that he sent just wide of the right post from the center of the penalty area, while a couple of minutes later Asante forced a good save by Oakland goalkeeper Paul Blanchette with an effort to the left corner. Santi Moar was also kept out in first-half stoppage time as Blanchette made a low save on a shot to his near post from the left to keep it a one-goal game at the break.
The second half opened more patiently for both sides, but midway through the game came to life again as Mattocks almost added a second for the hosts after he cleverly stepped over a pass by Quinn to send the defender the wrong way before opening up for a right-footed shot that went over the crossbar. Quinn set up another chance with 20 minutes to go as he laid off a pass for Moar that went just wide of the left post, and shortly after the Spaniard forced a good save by Blanchette as he cut in from the left and shot to the near post.
Blanchette came up with another fine save a couple of minutes later as King broke into the penalty area for a shot the goalkeeper just got his right arm to as the defender shot to the left corner. Oakland weathered the pressure, though, and almost pulled back an equalizer itself with nine minutes to go when Soya Takahashi cut in from the left and delivered a low curling shot to the far post that Rawls got across well to turn wide of the upright.
Rawls produced another excellent stop in second-half stoppage time as Memo Diaz got to the byline on the right and delivered a cross that Jeremy Bokila snapped on frame with a header only for the goalkeeper to first deny the effort and then cover any chance of a rebound. That proved to be the last scare for the hosts, though, as they saw out another important win.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Santi Moar, Phoenix Rising FC – Moar was active consistently in the final third, recording five shots and six key passes as he tested Oakland goalkeeper Paul Blanchette regularly while also completing 34 of 46 passes.
PHX – Darren Mattocks (Aodhan Quinn) 10’