PHOENIX, Arizona (Saturday, March 5) – Phoenix Rising FC won its final two preseason matches of the year, 3-2, vs. Grand Canyon University and, 5-1, vs. FC Tucson, tonight at Wild Horse Pass.
Rising opens its 2022 regular season next Saturday, March 12 (7:30 p.m.), against Monterey Bay. Fans can click here or call 623-594-9606 for more information.
This afternoon, Rising gave up a goal via penalty kick vs. GCU in the eighth minute. Shaun Joash converted the spot kick for the visitors, sending goalkeeper Lalo Delgado the wrong direction to put the Lopes up, 1-0.
The home side equalized in the 17th minute, after a long build-up on the left flank. Luis Seijas provided the pass that unlocked GCU’s back line, playing a wide ball to Richmond Antwi. The forward darted towards goal and ripped a shot that caught the inside of the post to the goalkeeper’s right side before caroming across the face of goal and ending up in the far side-netting to make it 1-1.
Rising’s high press created a turnover deep in GCU territory in the 32nd minute. Seijas latched onto the ball, dribbled to the top of the area and picked out the far post, beyond the reach of the GCU goalkeeper and into the lower corner.
Delgado made a big save, stone-walling Joash on a breakaway by staying big and holding his ground in the 36th minute.
GCU tied the match, 2-2, in the 68th minute when a shot from outside the box caught the post to Delgado’s right side and rebounded back into the area. Joash was the first to react, hitting a first-touch shot past the goalkeeper to tie the game.
Rising scored the game-winner in the 79th minute, when a high press and won the ball back in its offensive third of the pitch. Claudio Repetto set up the goal, feinting right before back-heeling a pass into the path of Phoenix Rising Academy player Tommy Wise, who finished low into the corner to make it a 3-2 final.
GCU – Shaun Joash 8
PHX – Richmond Antwi (Luis Seijas) 17
PHX – Luis Seijas 32
GCU – Shaun Joash 68
PHX – Tommy Wise (Claudio Repetto) 79
GCU – Pedro Mondragon (caution) 64
Phoenix Rising FC – Lalo Delgado, Ryan Flood, Jonathan Levin (PRFC ), Manuel Madrid, Channing Chasten, Carlos Anguiano (PRFC61), Luis Seijas, Jacob Harris [PRFC Academy], Joey Calistri, Richmond Antwi ([PRFC Academy] 78), Claudio Repetto.
FC Tucson opened the scoring in the second match, taking a 1-0 lead on a goal scored in the 12th minute on a free kick from just beyond the area. Daniel Bedoya stepped up to take the kick, bending a right-footed shot over the wall and off the inside of the near post, before the ball settled into the net behind Rising goalkeeper Ben Lundt.
Phoenix controlled possession and built pressure for several minutes before finally breaking through in the 29th minute. The assist came from Baboucarr Njie, who drove down the left side before sending a cross into the area for Greg Hurst. Rising’s striker deflected the ball onto goal, beating Tucson goalkeeper Carlos Merancio at the near post to make it 1-1.
Hurst nearly had a second goal in the 38th minute. Santi Moar and Darnell King combined on the right flank and the right back’s cross was accurate. The pass found the head of Hurst, who nodded a shot that caught the outside of the back post. Fortunately for Rising, the rebound fell to the feet of Marcus Epps, who took his time and calmly picked out the far post to give Phoenix a 2-1 lead.
Rising hit Tucson with a counterattack in the 74th minute and worked a flawless passing combination from Epps on the right, to Moar on the left. Moar put Aodhan Quinn in on goal with a first-touch header and the midfielder finished easily, low to the back post to make it 3-1.
Moar gained control of the ball in a dangerous spot and waited for a passing lane to open in the 80th minute. Once the defender split, Moar played a pass into space for Epps to finish off, making it, 4-1.
Epps finished off his hattrick two-minutes later, chipping the goalkeeper from the top of the area to bring it to a, 5-1, final.
Phoenix Rising FC – Ben Lundt, Baboucarr Njie, James Musa (PRFC Academy Player 51), Joe Farrell, Darnell King, Kevon Lambert, Aodhan Quinn, Arturo Rodriguez, Santi Moar, Marcus Epps, Greg Hurst.
FC Tucson – Carlos Merancio, Tyler Moss, Tarn Weir, Lucia Mastrantonio, Jacob Crull, Trialist 1, Trialist 2, Trialist 3, Gio Calixtro, Daniel Bedoya, Trialist 4.
PHX – Kevon Lambert (caution) 8
TUC – (caution) 16
TUC – Daniel Bedoya 12
PHX – Greg Hurst (Baboucarr Njie) 29
PHX – Marcus Epps 38
PHX – Aodhan Quinn (Santi Moar, Marcus Epps) 74
PHX – Epps (Moar) 80
PHX – Epps 82
Rising head coach Rick Schantz
General thoughts on the match…
Both games were similar, very frantic in the opening 15 minutes. We were trying to match the energy but weren’t being intelligent. Once it calmed down a little, both teams were sharp. Getting some goals is always good.
GCU was awesome. They were really organized. We knew they were going to run for days. FC Tucson is still missing a few guys. They had some injuries, but it was a great test for us. There were really good learning moments. I was happy to see Marcus [Epps] score and a few other guys get off to a great start.
They all know. Preseason ended tonight and this week it’s for three points. Here we go.
Rising winger Marcus Epps
On scoring three goals tonight…
All week we worked on transition attack, transition defending, trying to be creative and clinical in the final third. It means the world to get three goals heading into the season. Hopefully I can translate that into the first game of the year.