Phoenix Rising play to draw against Monterey Bay


NEVN Photography

Rising players run to celebrate Kevon Lambert’s goal

Hannah Hamilton, Reporter

Phoenix Rising entered Saturday night’s match against Monterey Bay with momentum, after a 2-1 road win on Easter Sunday against Birmingham Legion.

Phoenix came close to scoring several times in the first half, with a couple of corner kick chances as well, but just couldn’t seem to capitalize.

34 minutes in, Rising had a chance at a free kick, but a header sent it just missing the top of the crossbar.

Phoenix held possession for the majority of the game, which statistically isn’t new for Monterey. They’ve been out possessed by their competition four out of five games leading up to tonight, but still manage to lead the league in scoring.

The first goal wasn’t until the 60th minute.

The fans at Phoenix Rising Stadium loudly voiced their disagreement when referee Katja Koroleva signaled for Monterey Bay’s Alex Dixon to take a penalty kick — which he made.

Despite the setback, Phoenix remained poised and just five minutes later, it was captain Kevon Lambert with a beautiful goal on a pass from Erickson Gallardo to tie the game.

With the match tied, both teams increased their pace and played with a little more urgency than before.

Monterey Bay nearly had a second goal, but Rising goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo laid out to make the stop.

Phoenix had another opportunity to take the lead that left players visibly upset, when a pass sent the ball rolling right in front of the goal, but players were a step behind – resulting in a goal kick for Monterey, ending the game in a 1-1 draw.

Phoenix has only faced Monterey a total of three times, and this was the second time they tied. Last September, the two teams played to a  final score of 3-3.

Rising head coach Juan Guerra thought his team played well Saturday night.

“Keep working – again today, I liked everything we did until the final 3rd,” said Guerra.

After the game, Guerra was sympathetic towards his players.  He understood how frustrating it can be to dominate the whole game, but not have that reflected by the final score.

“We didn’t play a bad game, but didn’t do enough to win,” said Guerra.  “Hate the feeling of seeing and knowing you’re superior, but not finding ways to get the result.”

Rising hit the road to visit San Antonio April 22 followed by their third round U.S. Open Cup match against New Mexico United on April 26.  Phoenix will return to the friendly confines of 38th St./Washington before the end of the month to host Loudoun United.