LAS VEGAS, Nevada (Saturday, August 26) – Phoenix Rising FC (9-8-8) came from behind twice to down Las Vegas Lights FC in a 3-2 thriller tonight at Cashman Field.
Manuel Arteaga, Danny Trejo and Panos Armenakas found the back of the net for Rising, which moved a full three points clear of the final playoff spot with the victory. Phoenix returns home to 38th St/Washington for $1 Beer Night this Wednesday, August 30 (7:30 p.m.) vs. Sacramento Republic. Tickets for that match are available at PHXRisingfc.com.
Tonight, Renzo Zambrano released Danny Trejo in on goal with a well-placed through ball after Rising won the ball back in the middle of the pitch near the 16th minute. Trejo looked to capitalize on the chance against his former club, but his left-footed attempt skipped just wide of the post to Vegas goalkeeper Andre Zuluaga-Silva’s right side.
Phoenix earned a penalty kick in the 29th minute when a cross into the box by Manuel Arteaga caught the arm of Lights FC defender Jacob Bushue. Arteaga opted to take the spot kick, trying to beat Zuluaga-Silva low to his right side, but the goalkeeper made a diving, one-handed stop before covering the rebound.
Just before the halftime break, Rising gave up the ball in the midfield and were punished. Vegas’ Tyler Bagley laid out to chip the ball forward, into the path of teammate Daniel Rios. Rios turned on the jets and reached the loose ball a millisecond before Phoenix defender John Stenberg, poking the loose ball into space behind Rising’s back line. One-on-one with Phoenix goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo, Las Vegas’ Rios leaned right, before firing a low shot to the left side of the goalkeeper and just inside the near post to make it 1-0.
Arteaga made up for his miss on the penalty kick at the start of the second half, bagging a goal of the year candidate after Darnell King found him at the top of the box with his back to goal. Arteaga popped the ball up into the air with his first touch, then leaned back and hit an overhead kick that looped over the head of Zuluaga-Silva before settling into the side netting to the goalkeeper’s left side to make it 1-1 in the 53rd minute.
Vegas came right back and retook its one-goal lead in the 61st minute after a blocked shot rebounded to the feet of Rios at the top of the box. Still recovering from the initial shot, Rising goalkeeper Rios Novo was beat, low to his right side from a low and hard shot from just beyond the box.
Rising fought back to level the score, 2-2, in the 81st minute when substitute Gabi Torres combined with Trejo through the middle and then again to the endline on the left flank. Torres sprinted to the second one-two pass from the forward and kept the ball inbounds, centering a pass that caught Trejo near his knee. Trejo twisted his body and managed to redirect the pass into the back of the net to level the game.
One minute later, Rising took the lead when Eddie Munjoma sped down the opposite flank and played a drop pass into space at the top of the box. Armenakas, arriving late, cracked a rising left-footed shot past the goalkeeper and into the top corner of the net to make it 3-2 in favor of Phoenix.
LV – Daniel Rios (Tyler Bagley) 45+3
PHX – Manuel Arteaga (Darnell King) 53
LV – Daniel Rios 61
PHX –Dany Trejo (Gabi Torres) 81
PHX – Panos Armenaksas (Eddie Munjoma) 82
PHX – Manuel Arteaga (caution) 90+4
Phoenix Rising FC – Rocco Rios Novo, Alejandro Fuenmayor, John Stenberg, Darnell King (Gabi Torres 68), Renzo Zambrano, Jose Andres Hernandez, Eddie Munjoma, Dariusz Formella (Emil Cuello 84), Danny Trejo (Mo Traore 87), Panos Armenakas, Manuel Arteaga.
Substitutes Not Used: Patrick Rakovsky, Uzo, Carlos Anguiano, Fede Varela.
Las Vegas – Andre Zuluaga-Silva, Lucas Stauffer, Tyler Bagley (Emmanuel Ledesma 87), Zach Carroll (Tim Zali 65), Daniel Rios, Jacob Bushue, Andrew Carleton (Andres Jimenez 72), Alejandro Mitrano, Marcello Lage (Azriel Gonzalez 87), Justin Ingram, Eric Oteng.
Substitutes Not Used: Leo Díaz, Issa Rayyan, Josh Dolling.