Rising comeback falls short


Jacob Anderson

Rising scoreboard counts down until the start of the match

Jake Anderson, Reporter

The Phoenix Rising hosted Orange County SC Saturday night to decide the sole possessor of second place in the western conference standings.

Both teams came into the match tied for second with 41 points each.

The fireworks were left for the second half as the two goalkeepers seemed to touch the ball more with their feet than their hands in the first 15 minutes of the game.

It took until the 20th minute of play for both teams to get a shot on target.

Phoenix Rising FC was dealt a difficult blow, as forward Alessandro Riggi had to be assisted off the field with an apparent left knee injury 15 minutes into the game.

Riggi’s replacement, forward Jason Johnson, had an immediate impact on the game, as he saw his shot saved following a coast to coast run down the left sideline.

In the 39th minute, forward Michael Seaton put Orange County up 1-0 with a low curling shot from just outside the box. Orange County almost doubled its lead just before the half, but Rising goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski made an excellent foot-save at his near post from close range.

Orange County SC comfortably eased into the second half as forward Michael Seaton set up his teammate, Thomas Enevoldsen, for a strike at the top of the box that gave OCSC a 2-0 lead 48 minutes into the match. Phoenix Rising forward Jason Johnson attempted what would have been a spectacular bicycle kick goal, but it was struck directly at Orange County keeper Andre Rawls.

In the 65th minute, midfielder Aodhan Quinn converted from the penalty spot to give OC a 3-0 lead following a foul committed by the Rising on a corner. Two minutes later, Michael Seaton saw his volley from close range rattle the back of the net to give OCSC a 4-0 lead.

Rising captain Solomon Asante ignited a comeback after he won and converted a penalty in the 68th minute to make it a 4-1 scoreline. Five minutes later, Phoenix cut the lead to 4-2, as defender Devante Dubose saw his cross to Solomon Asante trickle its way over the line for a goal.

“The second half we did very well,” said Rising captain Solomon Asante. We were pushing; we changed our tactics. We wanted to take some risks. As the captain, I have to lift up my game a bit to encourage the rest.”

Over the last 20 minutes of the game, Phoenix Rising FC saw multiple chances go begging; none bigger than Kevaughn Frater’s strike off the woodwork in the 87th minute. Rising midfielder and captain Solomon Asante was able to manage a late consolation goal, but it was too little too late, as the referee blew the final whistle to seal Phoenix’s fate of a 4-3 loss.

“I think we’ll be alright,” said Rising manager Rich Schantz.

“We need to get things sorted out defensively. We’re giving up too many goals right now. We have to get back to what we were good at when we had a good run in June. That’ll be the focus this week.”

The loss drops the Rising to 4th place in the western conference standings with 11 games to go. The team will travel to Las Vegas this weekend for a showdown with the Las Vegas Lights on Saturday, August 18.