PHOENIX – Greg Hurst scored a pair of first-half goals and Ben Lundt recorded a seven-save shutout as Phoenix Rising FC took a 3-0 victory against San Antonio FC on Saturday night before a crowd of 6,486 fans at Wild Horse Pass to bring to an end the four-game league winning streak for the visitors and complete a season sweep in the series for Rising FC.
Looking to rebound from defeat a week ago, Phoenix opened brightly, and Hurst had a shot in the fourth minute blocked away by SAFC’s Mitchell Taintor. Marcus Epps also had an opportunity that he sent wide of the left post in the seventh minute before San Antonio carved out its first big chance of the night when a turnover in the Phoenix end set up a chance for PC that was brilliantly denied by Lundt as he scrambled to save both the initial shot and the rebound.
Rising FC immediately counterattacked and set up a chance of its own as Santi Moar was turned away by San Antonio goalkeeper Jordan Farr, while Epps threatened again a few minutes later with a sharp rising shot that Farr tipped over the crossbar. The breakthrough came for the hosts in the 26th minute, however, as a shot by Moar from 25 yards was redirected by Hurst near the penalty spot and his header to the right corner left Farr flat-footed.
San Antonio twice went close to leveling just before the half-hour mark as first Justin Dhillon fired just wide of the left post on a clear look at goal before Nicky Hernandez was denied by Lundt from a narrow angle on the left. If Hurst’s opening goal was instinctive, his second was a moment of brilliance as he controlled a lifted pass by Baboucarr Nije inside the penalty area on his chest and immediately delivered a scissor-kick finish to the right corner of the net.
The visitors tried to find a way back into the game in the second half but were held at bay by Lundt, who again denied PC from close range at the top of the six-yard area on the hour-mark after a good cross from the left by Elliot Collier. Phoenix was reduced to 10 men with 18 minutes to go, too, as Nije was sent off for his second yellow card of the game, but despite that Phoenix almost grabbed a third in the 78th minute when Arturo Rodriguez was denied well again by Farr. SAFC’s efforts to find a way back came up short, though, and in second-half stoppage time Phoenix provided the final blow as Rodriguez sent Richmond Antwi off on a breakaway that saw the Ghanaian round Farr to his left and finish into the open net, sealing victory for the hosts and closing the gap to second place in the Western Conference.
USLChampionship.com Player of the Match
Greg Hurst, Phoenix Rising FC – The Scottish forward delivered a pair of goals for the hosts and had four shots overall while recording one key pass and completing 10 of 15 overall in a crucial victory.
PHX – Greg Hurst (Santi Moar) 26’
PHX – Greg Hurst (Baboucarr Nije) 34’
PHX – Richmond Antwi (Arturo Rodriguez) 90+5’