Chris Cortez and Jason Johnson celebrate Cortez's goal in a 4-1 win over Portland Timbers FC 2 (Michael Rincon/PHXRisingFC.com)
PHOENIX (October 14, 2017) — Phoenix Rising FC closed the 2017 regular season on a high note with a dominating 4-1 win over Portland Timbers FC 2 in front of a sold out crowd of 6,711 at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex. The club finishes the season with 58 points and a 17-8-7 record, both new club records. The club also set a franchise attendance record for the season with over 100,000 fans coming to matches in 2017.
Rising FC came into the match needing a 9-0 win to earn a home playoff match in the first round of the postseason and came out attacking following the opening whistle. Midfielder Kevon Lambert scored the match’s first goal in the fourth minute to make it 1-0, then forward Chris Cortez smacked a highlight-reel goal off a diagonal cross from Didier Drogba to make it 2-0 after just 13 minutes.
But that searing goal pace didn’t last the entire match. Phoenix Rising didn’t score its third goal until the 56th minute, when Drogba fought off four defenders before beating the goalkeeper to the far left post. Following a Portland (3-23-6) goal in the 61st minute, Matt Watson closed out the goal tally for the 2017 regular season with a goal in the 75th minute to make it 4-1.
Phoenix Rising finishes the year in fifth place, its highest-ever regular season finish. The club will travel to Kansas City to square off against Swope Park Rangers in the first round of the USL playoffs on Saturday, October 21. The match will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Fans can watch the match at the club’s official watch party at the Thirsty Lion in Tempe Marketplace or on television locally on Yurview Arizona, Cox Channels 4 & 1004.
PHOENIX RISING FC 4-1 PORTLAND TIMBERS FC 2
PHX: 4’, 27-Kevon Lambert (17-Alessandro Riggi)
PHX: 13’, 7-Chris Cortez (11-Didier Drogba)
PHX: 56’, 11-Didier Drogba (7-Chris Cortez)
POR: 61’, 80-Augustine Williams (45-Harold Hanson)
PHX: 75’, 8-Matt Watson (19-Amadou Dia)
POR: 63’, 40-Renzo Zambrano (yellow)
PHX: 72’, 27-Kevon Lambert (yellow)
PRFC Starting XI: 18-Josh Cohen; 19-Amadou Dia, 33-Jordan Stewart, 2-Doueugui Mala, 3-Kody Wakasa; 27-Kevon Lambert, 16-Sam Hamilton (61’, 8-Matt Watson);14-Jason Johnson, 11-Didier Drogba, 17-Alessandro Riggi (45’, 24-AJ Gray); 7-Chris Cortez (65’, 28-Gladson Awako)
Substitutions Not Used: 1-Carl Woszczynski, 25-Victor Vasquez, 5-Peter Ramage, 30-Eric Avila