SACRAMENTO, California – Phoenix Rising FC dropped a 2-0 decision on the road in Sacramento to end its 2022 U.S. Open Cup run in the Round of 32.
Phoenix returns to league play this Sunday, May 15 vs. Tampa Bay at Wild Horse Pass. That match, which is scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m., will air nationally on ESPN2.
Tonight, Phoenix controlled the match from the onset, creating chances and looking like the team that would advance to the tournament quarterfinals for the first time in club history but it was Sacramento that went ahead, 1-0, in the 30th minute following a corner kick. After the ball was swung in from the Republic’s right flank, the ball was half-cleared to the top of the area, where Sacramento’s Matt LaGrassa trapped the ball and slid a pass inside the top left corner of the area to Luis Felipe. Felipe had time to pick his head up and beat Rising goalkeeper Ben Lundt with a low shot to the back post.
Five minutes later, Carlos Angiuano swung in a corner kick for Rising that was won by Marcus Epps at the back post. Epps’ header beat Sacramento goalkeeper Danny Vitiello, but caught the underside of the crossbar, bounced up but not over the goal line and was cleared away by a Republic defender.
In the 42nd minute, Arturo Rodriguez swerved through three Sacramento defenders on a 40-yard, winding run through the center of the park. Rodriguez cut inside one final defender as he entered the box and was brought down by a Republic defender, forcing the referee to point to the spot. Greg Hurst, who recorded a brace last match, stepped up to take the kick, but was denied by Vitiello. The goalkeeper made a diving stop to his right side and then popped back up and used his chest to deny Hurst of a rebound opportunity.
Rodriguez also created the best chance of the second half in the 83rd minute. The Mexican midfielder launched a rocket from beyond the area but his attempt fluttered just over the bar.
A second set piece opportunity gave Sacramento a 2-0 lead in the 88th minute of the match. The corner was sent into the area by Emil Cuello and Douglas Martinez won the header, beating Lundt low to the back post to close out the match.
SAC– Luis Felipe (Matt LaGrassa) 30
SAC – Douglas Martinez (Emil Cuello) 88’
PHX – Baboucarr Nije (caution) 22
SAC – Rodrigo Lopez (caution) 27
PHX – Greg Hurst (caution) 49
PHX – Marcus Epps (caution) 51
SAC – Duke Lacroix (caution) 52’
PHX – Darnell King (caution) 56
SAC – Lee Desmond (caution) 63
PHX – Sivert Haugli (caution) 72
SAC – Zeiko Lewis (caution) 80
Sacramento Republic FC: Danny Vitiello, Jack Gurr, Dan Casey, Lee Desmond, Conor Donovan, Duke Lacroix (Damia Viader 90+3’), Matt LaGrassa (Emil Cuello 66’), Luis Felipe, Zeiko Lewis (Luther Archimede 82’), Rodrigo Lopez (C), Douglas Martinez
Unused substitutes: Carlos Saldana, Maalique Foster, Rafa Jauregui, Keko Gontan.
Phoenix Rising FC: Ben Lundt, Manuel Madrid, Sivert Haugli , Darnell King (C) (Luis Seijas 75’), Baboucarr Nije (Ryan Flood 75’), Santi Moar (Claudio Repetto 79’), Carlos Anguiano (Joe Farrell 87’), Marcus Epps, Arturo Rodriguez, Greg Hurst, Joey Calistri
Unused substitutes: Richmond Antwi, Edward Delgado, Jonathan Levin.
Rising Head Coach Rick Schantz
Overall thoughts on the match…
We dominated the game for the most part. We created some really good chances. Both of Sacramento’s goals came from set pieces. That’s a sign that a lot of our guys just have not played together very much. We didn’t understand roles and responsibilities as much as we should have. That’s on us as a coaching staff. We missed a penalty. We had a header that went off the underside of the bar but somehow didn’t go in… We had a couple of other opportunities we should have put away. But by no means am I disappointed by the performance. I am disappointed we didn’t win.
Sivert Haugli was very good. Carlos Anguiano really grew into the game. I am really happy for him. He needed this experience. Joey Calistri was playing defensive midfield for us. We’ve got a lot of injuries. I’m proud of the boys. It was a really good performance. I’m feeling more and more confident about where we are going to be as a team.