PHOENIX, Arizona (Saturday, June 11) – Phoenix Rising FC (7-7-0) dropped a 1-0 decision to El Paso Locomotive FC tonight at Wild Horse Pass.
The squad travels to Loudoun County, Virginia, next Saturday, June 18 (4:30 p.m.) to take on United on Bally Sports Arizona Extra.
Tonight, Phoenix possessed the ball for several minutes nearing the 15-minute mark and build up pressure through Baboucarr Njie and Santi Moar down the left flank. Njie made an overlapping run and Moar found him with a pass near the endline. Njie avoided a sliding challenge by popping the ball over a defender and took a hard shot from a tough angle, but El Paso goalkeeper Evan Newton was able to come up with the save at the near post.
El Paso fired back in the 24th minute when a blocked shot skipped through Phoenix’s six-yard box. The ball caromed to a wide-open Noe Coutino at the back post and the midfielder lined up a shot, but Rising captain Darnell King stepped in at the last second to block the shot.
El Paso struck the left post in the 31st minute and forced a point-blank save from Lundt a minute later but Rising came right back with a great opportunity set up by Moar and King. The return feed went from King back to Moar and the forward knocked a low pass in for Joey Calistri to hit with his first touch. Unfortunately for Phoenix the redirected shot was right at Newton and the Locomotive goalkeeper made an outstanding save to keep the match tied, 0-0.
Phoenix started the half on the front foot, King won a ball back in a dangerous area and curled a pass to the back post for Calistri. The forward got into a good area but was unable to keep his header attempt on frame.
The match turned in the 69th minute when referee Elijio Arreguin pointed to the spot after he judged Manuel Madrid to have committed a foul in the box that denied El Paso of a goal-scoring opportunity. The call reduced Rising to 10-men for the remainder of the contest and gave El Paso a penalty kick that was converted by Aaron Gomez in the 71st minute. Gomez went to Lundt’s right side, barely slipping a shot under the goalkeeper’s right arm to make it 1-0.
EP – Aaron Gomez 71
PHX – Greg Hurst (caution) 4
EP – Ricardo Zacarias (caution) 35
EP – Andrew Fox (caution) 43
PHX – Luis Seijas (caution) 44
PHX – Joey Farrell (caution) 62
PHX – Darnell King (caution) 66
PHX – Manuel Madrid (ejection) 69
EP – Aaron Gomez (caution) 85
EP – Diego Garcia (caution) 88
Phoenix Rising FC – Ben Lundt, Baboucarr Njie (Claudio Repetto 80), Joe Farrell, James Musa (Manuel Madrid 64), Luis Seijas, Darnell King, Aodhan Quinn, Koze Donasiyano (Sivert Haugli 80), Santi Moar, Joey Calistri (Marcus Epps 64), Greg Hurst.
Substitutes Not Used: Lalo Delgado, Jacob Harris.
El Paso Locomotive FC – Evan Newton, Andrew Fox, Yuma, Nick Hinds, Matt Bahner, Dylan Mares (Martin Payares 90+2), Ricardo Zacarias (Diego Abarca 84), Richie Ryan, Sebastian Velasquez (Ander Egiluz 46), Aaron Gomez, Noe Coutino (Diego Garcia 84).
Substitutes Not Used: Philipp Beigl, Venancio Calderon.
Defender Darnell King
General thoughts on the match…That was a tough one. To lose in that fashion, it was rough. It was a battle. We have to learn from it and change. We have to start winning games at home again. The fans deserve better. Obviously, we appreciate all their support. They come out and cheer us on week in and week out. We want to thank them so much for that and we’ll work hard and try and do better. We have injuries but we also have guys that can step up to the plate. The little things that happened, we were just a bit unlucky on that night. We just need to keep working hard, keep working on discipline. We’re just in a little bit of a lull and we need to keep working and moving forward.