Phoenix, Arizona (Saturday, September 30) – Phoenix Rising FC (12-8-12) clinched a playoff berth with a 1-1 draw, thanks to an 85th minute wonder goal by Emil Cuello that extended the team’s unbeaten streak to eight games.
Rising is back in action at 38th St/Washington next Saturday, Oct. 7 (7:30 p.m.) vs. New Mexico United. Tickets for that match are available here.
Tonight, the team held a 65-35 edge in possession through the first 30 minutes of the match but produced just one shot on target – from Darnell King in the 13th minute. Rising’s captain raced up the center of the pitch on that attack, beating Orange County goalkeeper Colin Shutler to a pass from Panos Armenakas by a split second. King tried to poke a shot through the goalkeeper and was upended for his effort, but Shutler was able to get enough of his body on the ball to keep it out of the back of the net.
Orange County went ahead 1-0 in the 61st minute when the visitors broke free down the right side of the area and knocked a pass backwards, into the center of the pitch for Milan Iloski. The forward hit a sharp shot, low into the corner of the net from the top of the box, giving Phoenix goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo no chance to make a save.
Phoenix’s Mo Traore snuck up into the attack in the 82nd minute and found fellow defender Jon Stenberg with a perfect cross in the middle of the six-yard box. Stenberg looked to have the ‘keeper beat to his right side but the header smacked off the post.
Three minutes later, Cuello saved the day by lining up a ridiculous 30-yard missile that zipped past Shutler’s ear on its way to the far, top corner of the goal to make it a 1-1 final.
OC – Milan Iloski 61
PHX – Emil Cuello (Darnell King) 85
PHX – Jose Andres Hernandez (caution) 70
OC – Andrew Fox (caution) 76
OC – Dillon Powers (caution) 84
PHX – Mo Traore (caution) 84
Phoenix Rising FC – Rocco Rios Novo, Mo Traore, Alejandro Fuenmayor, John Stenberg, Darnell King, Renzo Zambrano, Jose Andres Hernandez (Fede Varela 80), Panos Armenakas (Emil Cuello 72), Danny Trejo, Manuel Arteaga (Erickson Gallardo 72), Dariusz Formella.
Substitutes Not Used: Patrick Rakovsky, Daniel Krutzen, Carlos Harvey, Eddie Munjoma.
Orange County SC – Colin Shutler, Owen Lambe, Dillon Powers, Marcus Nakkim, Ryan Doghman, Seth Casiple, Kyle Scott (Brent Richards 89), Kevin Partida (Andrew Fox 75), Bryce Jamison (Brian Iloski 60), Milan Iloski (Kevin Lankford 76), Thomas Amang (Marc McNulty 60).
Substitutes Not Used: Cameron Dunbar, Eric Lopez.