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Rising FC battles to narrow defeat against Timbers

By Staff, 01/27/24, 7:48PM EST


Alves scores early goal for visitors at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in preseason opener for hosts

Photo courtesy Phoenix Rising FC

PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC narrowly fell in its opening game of the 2024 preseason as the Portland Timbers took a 1-0 victory on Saturday afternoon at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex. Anthony Alves scored the only goal for the visitors early in an outing that provided positives for new Head Coach Danny Stone to take forward.

Portland took the lead in the fifth minute when a Phoenix turnover in the defensive third was pushed forward up the left side. Alves collected the pass and shot home high past goalkeeper Hunter Sulte – a Timbers Homegrown standout who started the game for Rising FC with Rocco Rios Novo currently on international duty with the Argentina U-23 Men’s National Team at CONMEBOL Olympic Qualifying and Patrick Rakovsky recovering from a training injury

The hosts tested new Timbers goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau in the 21st minute when Erickson Gallardo and Gabi Torres combined on the left side to set up a shot by Torres the Canadian international handled easily.

Stone made wholesale changes in the 34th minute, bringing on 10 field players to relieve the team in just its sixth day of preseason training. The mix of trialists and academy players earned a free kick in the 42nd minute that produced a shot that went high and wide of the mark.

Stone brought on Pape Mar Boye, Mo Traore, Edguardo Rito, Jose Hernandez, Juan Carlos Azocar, Emil Cuello and Fede Varela, mixed with a group of trialists.

Portland nearly doubled its lead in the 64th minute as it played a nice through ball in behind the defense, but Phoenix’s trialist goalkeeper came off his line to take away the angle before blocking the attempt. At the opposite end, Juan Carlos Azocar ripped a low shot toward the near post with 20 minutes to go but once again Crepeau was in position to make the save and smother the rebound.

Rising FC again nearly pulled level in the 78th minute when a line-drive cross was sent into the penalty area, but the header that followed skipped just wide of the left post. Two minutes later the Timbers had an opportunity on a free kick from just outside the penalty area but the attempt went directly to the goalkeeper, who was soon called upon again later to make a third save on a breakaway attempt, deflecting the effort to safety with his chest.

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