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Rising FC Rallies Past Los Dos

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/05/18, 12:37AM EDT


Drogba has goal, assist as Phoenix overcomes two-goal deficit before 7,332 fans

Photo courtesy Michael Rincon / Phoenix Rising FC

PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit to take a 4-3 victory against the LA Galaxy II before a crowd of 7,332 on Friday night at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex. The Galaxy II opened the scoring in the 19th minute on a fierce strike by Efrain Alvarez to the top-left corner of the net from 25 yards, the 15-year-old's first professional goal, but two minutes later Rising FC got back on level terms as Jason Johnson drove home a finish that took a slight deflection on its way into the right corner. Los Dos regained the lead in the 26th minute, however, as Ulysses Llanez Jr. put home the rebound after Ariel Lassiter’s initial shot hit the right post. The Galaxy II added a third five minutes before halftime as Hugo Arellano headed home a corner kick from the left by Julian Büscher, but Phoenix hit back two minutes into the second half as Riggi put home a low cross by Collin Fernandez to make it a one-goal game. Los Dos almost struck again in the 67th minute as Lassiter beat Phoenix’s offside trap but fired wide of the right post, but four minutes later Rising FC leveled as Johnson scored his second on the night with a flicked header from Didier Drogba’s corner kick. Phoenix then took the lead after Solomon Asante was brought down in the penalty area and Drogba converted with a low shot to the left corner from the spot, and while Lassiter forced a late save from Rising FC goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski after an initial free kick was blocked, Phoenix held on to complete an impressive comeback win.

19’ – LA – Efrain Alvarez (Alex Mendez)
21’ – PHX – Jason Johnson (Alessandro Riggi)
26’ – LA – Ulysses Llanez Jr.
40’ – LA – Hugo Arellano (Julian Büscher)
47’ – PHX – Alessandro Riggi (Collin Fernandez)
71’ – PHX – Jason Johnson (Didier Drogba)
78’ – PHX – Didier Drogba (penalty)

Three Things That Matter:

  • 1. Phoenix would have hoped its first win in three games on home turf would have come about in an easier manner, but the host’s big second-half rally proved enough in a performance that left plenty to be desired defensively but still ended up with a win in the end. Alessandro Riggi’s early second-half goal was key to the comeback, quickly reducing the two-goal halftime deficit that had it stood into the final half-hour could have ratcheted up pressure on Rising FC, but once Jason Johnson’s second goal of the game went in the hosts moved in decisively for victory.

  • 2. The Galaxy II were poised to take their first win against Phoenix since Aug. 31, 2016 after a first-half display that saw the club’s attack come to life in a way it hadn’t previously this season. LA’s attack hadn’t lacked for effort in its prior seven games, but rarely showed the precision that Efrain Alvarez produced on his first professional goal, a laser to the top-left corner that left Phoenix goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski helpless. Los Dos got a solid boost off the bench as well from Bradford Jamieson IV in attack but ended up just running out of steam defensively to succumb to another defeat.

  • 3. Phoenix’s new arrivals have made a strong impact already this season, but on Friday night it was returning standouts Alessandro Riggi and Jason Johnson who proved key to earning the side its victory. Johnson – who led Phoenix with 13 goals a season ago – in particular came up big when his side needed it with two excellent finishes on six shots overall, but the Jamaican also did the hard work dropping back into midfield to win 12 of 17 duels for the game to help keep Phoenix’s engine moving in the second half. Man of the Match

Didier Drogba, Phoenix Rising FC – Drogba produced a perfect penalty kick to cap Rising FC’s comeback victory, and also recorded one assist and four key passes in a fine overall display for the hosts.

Upcoming Games:

Phoenix Rising FC at OKC Energy FC – May 9, 8 p.m. ET, Taft Stadium

LA Galaxy II vs. Saint Louis FC – May 9, 10:30 p.m. ET, StubHub Center

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