Phoenix Rising outscore Hartford Athletic, continue undefeated streak at home


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Fan’s in the infamous “South End Zone” celebrate after Danny Trejo’s goal

Hannah Hamilton, Reporter

The last few matches have been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Phoenix Rising fans.

After being eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup by New Mexico United in a mid-week match on April 26, Rising came home and took care of Loudoun United 3-1, three days later.

Similarly, Rising hit the road last week, falling to Tampa Bay 2-0, but then rebounded at home Saturday night, taking down Hartford Athletic 3-1 at 38th St./Washington, to remain undefeated on home turf.

The win vaults Rising ahead of Monterey Bay in the USL Championship standings, and keeps pace with New Mexico United, who beat Monterey Bay Saturday night 2-1.

Just after the opening whistle, Rising had the opportunity at a free kick but Daniel Krutzen’s shot was saved by Hartford goalkeeper Richard Sanchez. At 5 minutes, Rising forward Danny Trejo managed to gather the ball just enough to push a slow roller over Hartford’s goal line to take the early lead 1-0.

“It feels great, you know- I’ve struggled a little bit with injuries at the beginning of the season, but I feel one hundred percent now, and I’m very happy to be able to help the team get the win,” said  Trejo after the game in response to his goal.

Rising’s lead would last for only a little while until a penalty by Rising’s Eddie Munjoma would result in a Hartford goal by forward Kyle Edwards off the penalty kick, one minute before half time.

Phoenix midfielder Carlos Harvey took it upon himself to carry the ball all the way up the field, after a missed corner kick opportunity for Hartford. Harvey won the one-on-one battle against Hartford keeper Richard Sanchez and sent the ball through Sanchez’s legs and into the back of the net in the 73rd minute.

“Carlos is a guy that is so versatile … this is a guy that is fully committed, this is a guy that understands the way we want to play, that understands the way we want to represent the community, and definitely understands the challenge and the responsibility we have to represent this organization,” said head coach Juan Guerra following the game.

Rising added an exclamation point before the end of the game, when midfielder Renzo Zambrano sent the ball to the middle of the goal box where forward Manuel Arteaga would weasel a goal in through goalkeeper Sanchez and one of his defenders in the 81st minute.

Phoenix dominated the game with an astounding 66% possession time.  Rising took 19 total shots and ended the game with 3 goals. Additionally, referee Jonathan Bilinski gave out a total of 8 yellow cards, 3 on Phoenix and 5 for Hartford.

“We showed that we were very critical of the things that we were not doing well and they had to improve … when we win we don’t slow down, when we win we push harder, so I hope the boys are ready because we’re going to keep pushing,” Guerra told reporters after the game.

Rising will have a chance to keep the roller coaster going uphill when they travel to Orange County, next Saturday, before returning to Phoenix Rising Stadium to face Las Vegas Lights on May 26.