PHOENIX, Arizona (Saturday, May 7) – Phoenix Rising FC downed San Antonio FC, 3-0, tonight at Wild Horse Pass.
Greg Hurst scored twice in the first half and Richmond Antwi added an insurance goal just before the final whistle as Phoenix improved to 6-3-0 on the season. Rising plays midweek in Sacramento in a Round of 32 U.S. Open Cup match but returns to Wild Horse Pass next Sunday, May 15 to face Tampa Bay. That match will air live on ESPN2, beginning at 6 p.m. and will feature postgame fireworks.
Rising earned three corners in the first three minutes of the match and had San Antonio on its heels when Hurst brought down a cross that was played into the area and fired a shot from close range. Fortunately for the visitors, Hurst’s shot attempt was blocked by a defender and the match continued scoreless through the 12th minute.
San Antonio’s Victor Giro came free then and should have put his team ahead if not for Rising goalkeeper Ben Lundt, who read the play perfectly and made a diving save for Phoenix.
The end-to-end action continued with chances from Santi Moar and Marcus Epps but San Antonio goalkeeper Jordan Farr answered both challenges in spectacular fashion.
Rising broke through in the 26th minute when a nice build up down the right flank opened space for Moar to take a rip from just beyond the area. Moar’s shot looked to be drifting towards the back post, but Hurst stepped in front of the ball and headed it the opposite direction, crossing up Farr and sending the ball into the back of the net to put Rising ahead 1-0.
Phoenix doubled its lead in the 34th minute when Baboucarr Njie sent in a cross from the left flank. Hurst was there to bring the ball down with his chest and before gravity could play its part, the forward volleyed a shot into the back of the net with a right-footed strike. The World-class goal gave Rising a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
Lundt was called upon in the 60th minute when a ball from the left flank was centered for Giro. Wide open in the center of the box, Viro tried to beat the goalkeeper with a left-footed attempt, but Lundt made an excellent kick save to keep his clean sheet intact.
Things got interesting in the 72nd minute when Njie was shown his second caution of the evening for a tackle at midfield. Down to 10 men for the final 18 minutes of the match, Phoenix was forced to play conservatively to close out the match but with San Antonio pushing numbers forward Rising caught them with a counterattack just before the final whistle.
Antwi took a feed from Arturo Rodriguez at midfield and sprinted towards net in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Running to his left, Antwi struck a hard and low shot past Farr and into the far side netting to make it a 3-0 final.
PHX – Greg Hurst (Santi Moar) 26
PHX – Greg Hurst (Baboucarr Njie) 34
PHX – Richmond Antwi (Arturo Rodriguez) 90+5
PHX – Santi Moar (caution) 45
PHX – Marcus Epps (caution) 45
SA – Mitchell Taintor (caution) 47
SA – Mohammed Abu (caution) 54
PHX – Baboucarr Njie (caution) 64
PHX – Baboucarr Njie (caution) 72
PHX – Baboucarr Njie (ejection) 72
PHX – Richmond Antwi (caution) 86
Phoenix Rising FC – Ben Lundt, Baboucarr Njie, Joe Farrell, Kevon Lambert (Manuel Madrid 33), Joey Calistri, Aodhan Quinn, Luis Seijas (Jonathan Levin 88), Arturo Rodriguez, Marcus Epps (Richmond Antwi 69), Santi Moar (Sivert Haugli 68), Greg Hurst (Claudio Repetto 88).
Substitutes Not Used: Lalo Delgado, Carlos Anguiano, Manuel Madrid.
San Antonio FC – Jordan Farr, Mitchell Taintor, Fabien Garcia, Connor Maloney, Jasser Khmiri, Shannon Gomez (Alasanne Diouf 76), Elliot Collier, Nicky Hernandez (Deshane Beckford 61), Mohammed Abu, PC (David Loera 73), Justin Dhillon.
Substitutes Not Used — Jordan Ayimbila, Henrik Sakshaug, Matt Cardone.
Rising head coach Rick Schantz
General thoughts on the match…
Goals change games. San Antonio was very good in the first half. They went through us pretty easily. There was a lot of emergency defending. There was a special effort from Greg [Hurst] to get the second goal. We did struggle a bit defensively, but they locked it down. This may not be the prettiest team we’ve ever had but they’re fighters. They will throw their body in front of anything. They’ll battle. I’ll give them that. We just need to figure out how to get it done on the road now.
Rising forward Greg Hurst
On his highlight reel goal…
I don’t think I’ve ever scored many better than that. I can’t remember this one that well to be honest, because of the adrenaline. I’ll have to go back and watch it.
On his first goal…
The way Santi [Moar] made contact, it was coming right at me. I knew, because I was so close to the goal that the ‘keeper would have to commit to blocking his shot, so I figured if I just changed the direction of the shot, I would be able to catch him flat-footed. Luckily, it worked out and it ended up in the back of the net.