Phoenix Rising speak out against racism as season reopens, scoring picks up where it left off

First match since March 7

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Grace Stufkosky, Phoenix Rising

Junior Flemmings scored the first goal of the night in a 4-0 victory

Ole Olafson , Reporter

Phoenix Rising played their second game of the season on Saturday night, four months after their first game of the season.

Back on March 7, Rising got off to hot start against Portland Timbers II, netting six goals in a resounding opening-day victory.  Rufat Dadashov scored a hat trick and team captain Solomon Asante had a goal and two assists.

Rising reopened their season against LA Galaxy II, also known as Los Dos, a team that they have beat seven straight times dating back to April 8, 2017.

Opening day featured 6,585 screaming fans, the Banditos and Red Fury doing their things with drums and red smoke flares and trumpets and anything else that could distract the other team and add to the bedlam of the South end zone.

Reopening day featured searing triple-digit temperatures, Rising players taking the field in the team’s “Rising Against Racism” t-shirts, Rising players taking a knee during a moment of silence to show appreciation for the pandemic’s front-line workers and 200 cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands.

One thing that didn’t change between now and then was Risings’ propensity towards peppering the back of opponent’s goals with well-aimed footballs.  Their first shot on net beat LA goalkeeper Abraham Romero.

Just like before the coronavirus postponed the season, Junior Flemmings and Solomon Assante were involved in scoring.  This time, Flemmings got the goal at 9’.

Galaxy II defender Isaac Bowa fouled Asante inside the box, drawing a yellow card from the official and giving a penalty shot to Rising.  Jon Bakero took the shot and scored his first goal of the season five minutes before the half.

Rising played all the way to the break and were rewarded with an Asante goal, two minutes into extra time.

Asante put the cherry on top of a 4-0 shutout when he guided a shot past Romero from what would have been beyond the three-point line had he been a Suns player.

USL teams will play a 16 game season over a 13 week period.  The shortened season will culminate with a 16 team, single-elimination, bracket playoffs.

Rising play their remaining games in a regional bracket which includes Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orange County and San Diego.  If an away game is within 500 miles, teams will travel by bus to reduce exposure to coronavirus.