Collin Fernandez battles with Real Monarchs' Sebastian Velasquez in Phoenix Rising's 1-0 loss. (Michael Rincon/PHXRisingFC.com)
PHOENIX (April 7) — Phoenix Rising FC fell for the first time this season, 1-0, to Real Monarchs in front of a sellout crowd of 6,531.
Jason Johnson had the match's first great chance of the evening. In the 27th minute, Collin Fernandez sent a perfectly weighted free kick into the box. Johnson managed to flick the ball on toward the far left side of the net. But Real Monarchs goalkeeper Connor Sparrow made an acrobatic dive to his right to make the save.
In the 33rd minute, midfielder Gladson Awako nearly scored a highlight-reel goal. After cutting toward the middle of the box from the right side, Awako sent a vicious shot toward the left upper 90. But the shot banged off the frame and out of harms way. Moments later, Awako had another shot on target but Sparrow denied him.
After going into the half level at 0-0, Real Monarchs' Sebastian Velasquez broke the stalemate with a goal in the 56th minute.
Phoenix's best chance in the second half came in the 73rd minute as Soloman Asante curled a cross toward the left side of the box. Chris Cortez got his head on the ball but his shot went painfully wide left by inches.
Phoenix Rising has a quick turnaround following the loss. The club returns to league play on Wednesday, April 11, to take on LA Galaxy II. That match kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
PHOENIX RISING FC 0-1 Real Monarchs SLC
RSL: 56’, 55-Sebastian Velasquez (44-Maikel Chang)
PHX: 28’, 27-Kevon Lambert (yellow)
PHX: 50’, 8-Collin Fernandez (yellow)
RSL: 58’, 47-Josh Heard (yellow)
RSL: 65', 45-Andrew Brody (yellow)
RSL: 71', 52-Kalen Ryden (yellow)
RSL: 78', 43-Justin Portillo (yellow)
PHX: 90+3', 11-Didier Drogba (yellow)
RSL: 90+5', 44-Maikel Chang (yellow)
PRFC Starting XI: 1-Carl Woszczynski, 3-Kody Wakasa, 13-Amadou Dia, 4-Mike da Fonte, 2-Doueugui Mala, 8-Collin Fernandez (75', 11-Didier Drogba), 27-Kevon Lambert, 10-Gladson Awako (68', 7-Billy Forbes), 20-Solomon Asante, 14-Jason Johnson, 9-Chris Cortez
Substitutions Not Used: 28-Zac Lubin, 15-Joseph Farrell, 21-Luca Ricci, 6-Evan Waldrep, 25-Victor Vasquez