PHOENIX, Arizona (Saturday, Feb. 19) – Phoenix Rising FC drew Louisville City FC, 2-2, in preseason action tonight at Wild Horse Pass.
Darnell King and Joey Calistri found the back of the net for Rising, which officially opens the 2022 regular season on Saturday, March 12 (7:30 p.m.).
Santi Moar nearly gave Rising an early lead in the ninth minute, when he received a pass on the left flank and cut inside, across the top of the box. Phoenix’s No. 7 faked a shot before cutting his attempt back against the grain, nearly beating Louisville goalkeeper Kyle Morton to his near post. Unfortunately for Rising, the shot skipped a few inches wide of the post to Morton’s right side.
Seven minutes later, Rising put one on the scoreboard when Marcus Epps beat a pair of defenders on the left side and cracked a low cross to the opposite end of the box for Darnell King. The right back arrived at the perfect time, hitting a first touch shot beyond the reach of Morton and putting the home side ahead 1-0, in the 17th minute.
Louisville countered with a cross that was lofted to the back post in the 22nd minute. The Louisville forward got his head to the ball, but the shot was blocked out over the end line by defender Joe Farrell.
Moar nearly made it a two-goal lead in the 40th minute after intercepting a pass from Louisville’s center back. Moar was in-alone on goal against Morton but the goalkeeper stood his ground at the top of the area. The Spaniard attempted to dribble around him, but Morton made a desperate kick save to separate the ball from the attacker.
Louisville made it a 1-1 game just before halftime on a corner played into the area by Niall McCabe. The in-swinging ball was met at the top of the six-yard box by Paolo DelPiccolo who headed the ball down and just inside the far post.
Rising goalkeeper Ben Lundt made three big saves to open the second half before Louisville took a 2-1 lead in the 54th minute. Lundt got a hand to the third attempt from Brian Ownby but redirected his save into the path of Wilson Harris, who finished into an empty net to give his team the lead.
Rising head coach Rick Schantz made wholesale changes in the 61st minute, bringing on 10 new players to close out the match. Two of those players connected just three minutes into their evening, on a free kick taken by Luis Seijas and scored by Joey Calistri. The ball was curled to the front post, where Calistri chipped a header backwards, beyond the reach of the goalkeeper and into the low side-netting to make it a 2-2 final.
PHX – Darnell King (Marcus Epps) 17
LC – Paolo DelPiccolo (Niall McCabe) 45
LC – Wilson Harris (Brian Ownby) 54
PHX – Joey Calistri (Luis Seijas) 65
PHX – Baboucarr Njie (caution) 10
PHX – Caludio Repetto (caution) 33
LC – Defender (caution) 33
PHX – Santi Moar (caution) 56
PHX – Jonathan Levin (caution) 71
Phoenix Rising FC – Ben Lundt, Baboucarr Njie, James Musa, Joe Farrell, Darnell King, Kevon Lambert, Aodhan Quinn, Arturo Rodriguez, Marcus Epps, Santi Moar, Claudio Repetto (Greg Hurst 46).
Phoenix Rising FC (Group 2) – Lalo Delgado, Ryan Flood, Channing Chasten, Trailist 1, Trialist 2, Jonathan Levin, Luis Seijas, Carlos Anguiano, Joey Calistri, Ivan Gutierrez, Greg Hurst.
Louisville City FC – Kyle Morton, Oscar Jimenez, Sean Totsch, Josh Wynder, Amadou Dia, Niall McCabe, Corben Bone, Paolo DelPiccolo, Wilson Harris, Brian Ownby, Jorge Gonzalez.
Louisville City FC (Group 2) – Parker Siegfried, Wes Charpie, Jan-Erik Leinhos (trialist), Tyler Gibson, Napo Matsoso, Carlos Moguel, Ray Serrano, Enoch Mushagalusa, Cameron Lancaster.
Rising head coach Rick Schantz
General thoughts on the match…Our players were upset they gave up that goal to start the second half. We started really slow. We looked sluggish, but then we made all the changes in the 60th minute and scored a great goal. [Calistri] only scores goals to tie or win games, haha. It was a great experience against a very good team.
Louisville is a veteran team, a very well coached team. You can see they were excited to be out here… Who wouldn’t want to be playing in Arizona at this time of year? It was perfect for preseason. It was exciting to see Marcus [Epps] with Santi [Moar] and Claudio [Repetto]. Greg [Hurst] was also very good with the second group. We’ll get a few things fixed in the next couple weeks and we’ll be ok.
Rising midfielder Joey Calistri
On his goal…
I love scoring, especially at home in front of our fans. First game this season with fans here, it’s good to get one in the back of the net.
Thoughts on preseason…
At this stage in preseason, getting results at home is important. The first group put in a good shift. We came out knowing our job was to try and get a result. The mentality from the group has been first class. It’s a good lesson for us to have this game in preseason. We know we’re never out of a game and we’re capable of coming back.