PHOENIX, Arizona (Saturday, March 26) – Phoenix Rising FC fell for the first time at Wild Horse Pass (20 games), 3-2, at the hands of the San Diego Loyal SC tonight.
James Musa and Luis Seijas scored for Rising, which falls to 1-2-0 on the season with the loss. Rising is back on the road next week in San Antonio (5:30 p.m. on Bally Sports Extra and ESPN+) before returning for three consecutive matches at Wild Horse Pass in April.
Early on, both teams created quality scoring chances to open the first 30 minutes of play, but neither side could put a shot on target. Loyal’s first on frame came in the 36th minute from forward Kyle Vassell. Rising goalkeeper Ben Lundt made an easy save on the play, sparking a wide-open run of play in an otherwise conservative half for the next two minutes.
Rising looked dangerous for a moment and then was hit on the counterattack when Evan Conway found room on the left side of the box. Conway went inside out on a trio of defenders before hitting a hard and low, left-footed shot to the far side netting to make it 1-0.
Rising created a second chance in the 45th minute with a back-heel entry pass into the box, but Phoenix forward Greg Hurst struck his chance wide of the post behind Loyal goalkeeper Jorge Ojeda. For a second time, Loyal countered immediately. San Diego got the ball to the endline and crossed in a ball on the floor to Vassell, who did well to redirect a first-touch shot into the back of the net to give his side a 2-0 lead just before halftime.
Rising looked more like itself to start the second half, creating more quality chances in the opening 10 minutes than it had in the previous 45. No goal came and Rising head coach Rick Schantz made a pair of moves in the 63rd minute.
Four minutes later center back James Musa darted forward and Quinn put a ball on his head at the back post. Musa made no mistake, heading home the chance to make it a 2-1 game in the 64th minute.
Seijas collected a rebound from a clearance attempt following a Rising corner kick in the 71st minute and unleashed an absolute rocket that made its way through a crowd before skipping past the goalkeeper.
San Diego fired back in the 76th minute when Alejandro Guido dribbled through the center of the defense, cut to the right near the top of the box and lined a laser of a shot into the opposite, top corner of the net to win it, 3-2, for Loyal.
SD – Evan Conway (Tumi Moshobane) 38
SD – Kyle Vassell (Thomas Amaug) 45+2
PHX – James Musa (Aodhan Quinn) 67
PHX – Luis Seijas 71
SD – Alejandro Guido 76
PHX – Darnell King (caution) 20
SD – Kyle Adams (caution) 73
SD – Alejandro Guido (caution) 73
SD – San Diego Bench (caution) 74
PHX – Greg Hurst (caution) 90+4
Phoenix Rising FC – Ben Lundt, Baboucarr Njie (Joey Calistri 63), James Musa, Joe Farrell, Darnell King (Claudio Repetto 83), Kevon Lambert, Aodhan Quinn, Arturo Rodriguez (Channing Chasten 90), Santi Moar, Marcus Epps (Luis Seijas 63), Greg Hurst.
Substitutes Not Used: Carlos Aguinano, Lalo Delgado.
San Diego Loyal SC – Jorge Ojeda, Elijah Martin, Kyle Adams, Grant Stoneman, Jack Metcalf (Evan Conway), Collin Martin, Alejandro Guido, Tumi Moshobane (Jack Blake 72), Nick Moon, Thomas Amaug (Morgan Hackworth 90+), Kyle Vassell (Evan Conway 6).
Rising head coach Rick Schantz
General thoughts on the match…
We lost on a Worldie [World Class goal]. The guy [Alejandro Guido] hits it top corner but, we created our own problems. Once we got to 2-2, we got emotional. We got really spread out. We couldn’t calm our emotions down. The problem we’re having right now is when our back is against the wall, you see us at our best. By then, it’s too little too late. We’ve given up seven goals in three games. That’s not gonna help us win anything.
How did you go about getting two goals to start the second half?
Desperation, we were desperate. They felt like there was nothing to lose. We need to play with that mentality right from the beginning. We were really tentative in the first half and San Diego was much better than we were. We couldn’t beat anyone individually. Both wingers have struggled. We were holding onto the ball too much in the midfield. We weren’t playing simple. We weren’t playing fast. Our shape got all messed up after we gave up the first goal. No one was in position. That’s on me and it’s something I need to fix really fast.