Photo courtesy LA Galaxy II
CARSON, Calif. – A pair of first-half goals by Didier Drogba and Alessandro Riggi gave Phoenix Rising FC a 2-0 victory against the LA Galaxy II on Saturday night at StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium. Rising FC took the lead in the 13th minute as Drogba hammered home a free kick from 30 yards into the top-right corner of the net. Shaun Wright-Phillips also forced a good save by Galaxy II goalkeeper Clement Diop in the 31st minute as Phoenix looked the more dangerous of the two teams in the first half, and in the final minutes before the break the visitors doubled their lead as Riggi finished with a low shot from the right side of the penalty area. Rising FC looked to add to its lead early in the second half as both Drogba and Riggi threatened to add to their previous finishes. The Galaxy II also looked to get back into the game, but the hosts were unable to find many clear chances as both Ethan Zubak and Adrian Vera forced saves, and a late chance for Ryo Fujii went begging as Rising FC claimed an important win.
13’ – PHX – Didier Drogba
45’ – PHX – Alessandro Riggi (Blair Gavin)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Coming off back-to-back defeats, Rising FC understood the need for getting bask in the win column in a hotly contested race for the playoffs in the USL Western Conference. Thanks to a solid display led by Alessandro Riggi and a tremendous goal by Didier Drogba, Phoenix managed just that against Los Dos. Riggi’s display, in particular, was a very bright sign as the winger continued his comeback from in jury with a lively outing that saw him not only find the back of the net, but also create chances as the visitors took victory.
2. Phoenix’s fans have already seen some special moments since Didier Drogba joined the club earlier this season, but none might be able to top the former Ivory Coast international pulled out of his hat on Saturday night against the Galaxy II. Drogba’s long-range free kick was a special moment that reminded everyone in attendance and watching online of the 39-year-old’s heyday, and paved the way for an important victory for the side’s playoff efforts.
3. The Galaxy II’s four-game undefeated streak came to an end as the experience in Phoenix’s defense proved too much to break down to continue the club’s recent move up the standings. Los Dos looked to break back into the game in the second half, but wasn’t able to quite find the quality it had managed in recent outings. After a week off the side will get back to action against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC looking to get back the side’s outside playoff chances back in the win column.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Didier Drogba, Phoenix Rising FC – Drogba’s magnificent goal was the major highlight of the night, but the veteran forward also put in plenty of other work to ensure his side’s victory.
LA Galaxy II at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – August 18, 9 p.m. ET, Weidner Field
Phoenix Rising FC at Rio Grande Valley FC – August 12, 8:30 p.m. ET, H-E-B Park