Saturday, July 11
PHOENIX, Arizona – Phoenix Rising, led by 2019 USL Championship MVP Soloman Asante’s two-goal-one-assist performance, defeated LA Galaxy II, 4-0 tonight at Casino Arizona Field.
The match was the first for Rising following a 126-day shutdown due to COVID-19. The club is now, 2-0-0 on the season and has outscored its first two opponents, 10-1. Next up is an away match vs. Orange County this Thursday, July 16 on ESPN2 (6PM).
Phoenix Rising broke through in the ninth minute when Solomon Asante came free on the right flank, thanks to a quality first-touch pass by Rufat Dadashov. Asante picked up his head and saw Junior Flemmings make a sharp run towards the back post. Asante led Flemmings perfectly with low cross and the Jamaican used his pace to beat LA Galaxy II goalkeeper Abraham Romero to the ball. Flemmings scuffed the top of the ball on the challenge but got more than enough of it to win the tackle and the ball bounced through the middle of the six-yard box and into the back of the net.
Nearing the 20th minute, Rising began to dominate possession and control the pace of the match. The build-up resulted in Rufat Dadashov nearly finding his fourth goal in two matches. Phoenix’s No. 9 slipped around Los Dos’ center back to win the ball back in the area and quickly fired a high shot towards Romero that the goalkeeper parried over the bar for a Rising corner kick.
Flemmings earned a penalty kick in the 39th minute when Jon Bakero played the forward into space. The forward turned Galaxy defender Isaac Bawa with a spin move followed by a burst of speed to the outside while driving into the area. Flemmings accelerated away from Bawa with a clear path towards goal. The defender had no choice but to drag Flemmings to the ground to prevent the goal, earning a penalty for Rising, which was converted by Bakero in the 40th minute.
Asante collected a pass in the middle of the pitch and scorched a shot from 25-yards out that skipped past Romero in first-half stoppage time. The shot beat the goalkeeper to his left side, just inside the post to make it 3-0 at halftime.
LA Galaxy II made two changes at the half, bringing on Victor Valdez and Jalen Neal. The visitors produced two solid chances - a goal that was called back due to an offsides call and Ivan Gutierrez rung a shot off the outside of the far post as Los Dos controlled the match from the beginning of the second half until the 55th minute, when Dadashov relieved the pressure by winning a foul near midfield.
Rising head coach Rick Schantz made two changes of his own in the 63rd minute, adding Jose Aguinaga and Joey Calistri in exchange for Bakero and Jordan Schweitzer. Schantz also switched out Dadashov for Lagos Kunga and Flemmings for Santi Moar in the 70th.
The reinforcements stabilized the match for Rising and after a few minutes of pressure, Asante scored his second of the match after collecting a half-clearance and hammering a shot towards the front post. The shot took a deflection off a LA defender and skipped over the goalkeeper to give Phoenix a 4-0 lead.
PHX - Junior Flemmings (Soloman Asante) 9
PHX – Jon Bakero (PK) 40
PHX – Asante 45+2
PHX – Asante (Santi Moar) 81
Phoenix – Zac Lubin, Darnell King, Corey Whelan, Joey Farrell, Owusu-Ansah Kontoh, Jon Bakero (Jose Aguinaga 64), Kevon Lambert, Jordan Schweitzer (Joey Calistri 64), Junior Flemmings (Santi Moar 70), Rufat Dadashov (Lagos Kunga 70), Asante Solomon (Austin Ledbetter 85),
Substitutes not used: Eric Dick.
LA Galaxy II – Abraham Romero, Isaac Bawa, Maurico Cuevas, Omar Ontiveros, Jesus Vazquez (Marcus Ferkranus 82), Adam Saldana, Adrian Vera (Jalen Neal 45) , Jorge Rodriguez, Sebastian Nava (Victor Valdez 45), Augustine Williams, Ivan Gutierrez (Andre Ochoa 77).
Substitutes not used: Anthony Ramos, Sebastian Hernandez, Adrian Gonzalez.
LA - Isaac Bawa (caution) 39
PHX – Darnell King (caution) 54
LA - Omar Ontiveros (caution) 55
Head Official: Isaiah Vlad
AR1: Mark Novosel
AR2: Nicholas Gastelum
4TH: Alan Martinez
Weather: Clear, 109