Photo courtesy Ashley Orellana / Phoenix Rising FC
PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC rallied to earn a 2-2 draw against USL Championship newcomer Detroit City FC on Friday night at Wild Horse Pass in a preseason exhibition between the two sides. Marcus Epps played a role in both goals for the hosts, with a trialist forward notching both goals for Detroit.
Both side’s goalkeepers opened the game making key says, with Detroit City’s Nathan Steinwascher making a pair of saves on Rising FC’s Claudio Repetto to bookend a one-handed stop of a breakaway attempt by Phoenix’s Lalo Delgado.
Detroit took the lead in the 26th minute, however, when a turnover in the back produced a chance for the visitors. Detroit made no mistake as trialist drove the ball centrally before cutting a pass back for a second trialist forward to put home a first-time finish.
The visitors then struck again four minutes later when a guest winger took possession on the left flank and played a long pass to the trialist forward in the 30th minute. The forward made no mistake once again, finishing off the chance with a hard strike to the far post to make it 2-0.
Phoenix pulled a goal back in the 66th minute when a sustained period of pressure resulted in a clear cross attempt for Epps. The offseason arrival for Rising FC sent in a sharp cross that caught a piece of a Detroit defender and skipped into the back of the net to halve the deficit.
Rising FC then leveled with 14 minutes to go, with Epps again involved. The midfielder received the ball in the middle of the pitch and swung it to the left flank for Ryan Flood. Rising FC’s left back dribbled to the top corner of the area before unleashing a powerful finish that zipped past the Detroit goalkeeper and into the back of the net to leave honors even.
Earlier in the evening, Rising FC had taken a 5-0 victory against Valley United FC in the opening game of its split-squad doubleheader as Raymond Antwi scored twice and Greg Hurst registered a goal and two assists.
Rising FC took a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute after Arturo Rodriguez and Luis Seijas combined deep down the left flank. The duo passed their way through a trio of Valley United defenders before Seijas picked out the run of Joey Calistri with a low, sharp pass through the six-yard box that the veteran midfielder tucked home.
Calistri then earned a penalty kick for Rising FC in the 21st minute. Rodriguez converted the chance, sending the goalkeeper the wrong direction. The hosts then added a third 10 minutes later when Baboucarr Njie launched a throw-in down the left that found Hurst, who slipped by a defender and set the table for Antwi to finish off the chance.
Hurst and Antwi combined again in the final minute of the first half as Hurst picked off a pass between Valley United’s center backs. Antwi made another solid run, angling away from the lone Valley United defender, and Hurst found him with a chipped ball that allowed the Ghanaian to finish.
Rodriguez set up Hurst to make it 5-0 in the 61st minute as he beat a pair of Valley United defenders on the dribble before crossing the halfway line and chipping a ball over the top of the center back. Hurst caught up to the pass on the other side of the defender and finished calmly into the right corner.