Defender Kody Wakasa (right) battles with an Orange County player as defender A.J. Gray waits to attack.
PHOENIX (August 18, 2017) — Phoenix Rising FC played down a man for half a match but managed to earn a 1-1 draw against Orange County Soccer Club. With the draw, Phoenix Rising ends its three-match road trip unbeaten with a 1-0-2 record.
Rising FC (7-7-6) took an early lead in the 18th minute. Forward Chris Cortez jumped on a loose ball after the Orange County goalkeeper lost control of a back pass. Cortez snuck in and smashed a shot into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Following the goal, it appeared the rest of the first half would be uneventful. But in the 42nd minute, defender AJ Gray was shown a straight red card and ejected following a tackle near the sidelines.
Down a man for the entire second half, Phoenix Rising’s defense battled an offensive onslaught from Orange County (7-6-8). In the final 45 minutes of the match, Rising FC faced 16 shots with half of them coming from inside the box.
Defender Peter Ramage headed a would-be goal off the line near the hour mark of the match. Later in the half, he cleared a cross destined for the back post and a possible goal. In the 73rd minute, goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski outjumped a crowded box to punch away a dangerous cross into the box.
And in the 81st minute, defenders blocked three consecutive shots inside the box to keep Orange County off the scoreboard.
But Orange County’s pressure finally broke through in the 89th minute. Jerry van Ewijk sent a right-to-left curling ball toward the far left side of the box and found the head of Sola Abolaji who headed his shot inside the post for the late equalizer.
With the draw, Phoenix Rising remains in 11th place with 27 points, just two points outside of the final playoff spot. The club returns home on Saturday, August 26, to face Sacramento Republic FC. The match will begin at 8:00 p.m. and fans can still purchase tickets by heading to www.PHXRisingFC.com
Match: Phoenix Rising FC at Orange County SC
Date: August 18, 2017
Location: Champion Park | Irvine, CA
ORANGE COUNTY SC 1-1 PHOENIX RISING FC
PHX: 18’, 7-Chris Cortez
OC: 89’, 12-Sola Abolaji (11-Jerry van Ewijk)
OC: 16’, 7-Richard Chadlow (yellow)
PHX: 42’, 24-A.J. Gray (red)
PRFC Starting XI: 1-Carl Woszczynski; 25-Victor Vasquez, 5-Peter Ramage, 3-Kody Wakasa, 24-A.J. Gray; 4-Blair Gavin (90+’, 16-Sam Hamilton), 8-Matt Watson, 14-Jason Johnson (69’, 13-Eder Arreola), 29-Shaun Wright-Phillips, 17-Alessandro Riggi (64’, 27-Kevon Lambert); 7-Chris Cortez
Substitutions Not Used: 18-Josh Cohen, 6-Miguel Timm, 23-Matthew Hurlow-Paonessa, 30-Eric Avila