ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (September 28th, 2019) — Phoenix Rising FC is officially the 2019 USL Regular Season Title Winner following a thrilling 2-2 draw with New Mexico United. The club is now guaranteed home matches throughout the entire USL Championship Playoffs including the USL Championship Final.
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Phoenix Rising fell behind early in the match, giving up a 4th-minute goal to Devon Sandoval. The club then fell into a two-goal deficit when Justin Schmidt made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute.
But Calistri came to the club’s rescue after he was subbed into the match in the 62nd minute. Just over ten minutes after coming on to the pitch, defender Corey Whelan freed Calistri into the box down the right flank. From a difficult angle near the endline Calistri struck a right-footed shot into the far left side of the net to pull Phoenix Rising within one.
Then Calistri became the hero in the final moments of regulation. Following a Rising corner that resulted in back-to-back shots hitting the frame, Rising reloaded its attack with an Adamdou Dia cross into the box. The New Mexico United defense cleared it out toward the right corner of the box where Calistri took a touch before blasting his shot attempt past the keeper for the equalizer.
Coming into the match, Phoenix Rising’s magic number to secure the top overall seed in the USL Championship Playoffs was one. The club became the official 2019 USL Regular Season Title winners when Indy Eleven lost to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 3-0.
Phoenix Rising will head on the road for the final time in 2019 next Saturday, October 5th, to take on Portland Timbers 2. The match will air live on Your PHX CW (channels 6 & 61.1) with kickoff at 7:00 p.m.
NEW MEXICO UNITED 2-2 PHOENIX RISING FC
NM: 4’, 9-Devon Sandoval (24-Manny Padilla)
NM: 53’, 17-Justin Schmidt (14-Chris Wehan)
PHX: 74’, 21-Joey Calistri (4-Corey Whelan)
PHX: 90’, 21-Joey Calistri
PHX: 13’, 9-Adam Jahn (caution)
NM: 41’, 10-Kevaughn Frater (caution)
NM: 48’, 4-Sam Hamilton (caution)
NM: 58’, 24-Manny Padilla (caution)
NM: 68’, 8-Juan Guzman (caution)
Starting XI: 28-Zac Lubin; 13-Amadou Dia, 3-A.J. Cochran (87’, 15-Joey Farrell), 4-Corey Whelan, 24-Mustapha Dumbuya (73’, 22-Ben Spencer); 41-James Musa, 19-José Aguinaga (62’, 21-Joey Calistri), 27-Kevon Lambert; 7-Junior Flemmings, 9-Adam Jahn, 20-Solomon Asante
Subs not used: 1-Carl Woszczynski, 2-Douegui Mala, 16-Austin Ledbetter, 32-Kyle Bjornethun