Phoenix Rising clinch playoff berth with win over Orange County Soccer Club


Ole Olafson

Orange County moves the ball into their offensive zone under a layer of red smoke from the south end zone following Rufat Dadashov’s game winning goal

Ole Olafson and Cynthia Tapia

Phoenix Rising’s first chance to clinch a playoff berth slipped through their fingers last Saturday night when the team suffering their first home loss of the season against San Diego Loyal.

They had their second chance this Saturday night and buckled down for a no-frills 1-0 win against an Orange County team that beat them by the same score back on July 25, Rising’s third game back after the season restarted.

Saturday’s victory not only wins Group B, a stated goal of Rising head coach Rick Schantz, but also assures that their first round playoff game will be played within the friendly confines of Casino Arizona Field.

Rufat Dadashov, the team’s second leading scorer, behind Junior Flemmings, notched the only goal of the game.  The goal, his 11th of the season, also ties Dadashov for second leading scorer in the league — behind Flemmings.

Rising will have a chance to avenge that home loss when they travel to San Diego to face the Loyal in a midweek match on Wednesday, before returning home to finish their regular season against L.A. Galaxy II, Oct. 3.