(September 15, 2018) — Following a 1-0 win over Seattle Sounders 2 in Tacoma, WA, Phoenix Rising FC sits alone at the top of the Western Conference standings for the first time in club history. The club also clinches a spot in the USL playoffs for the second-consecutive season.
The club’s leading goal-scorer, forward Chris Cortez, scored the match’s lone tally in the first half, his 16th of the season and goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski notched his 10th clean sheet of the campaign.
Rising’s only goal of the match came early. In the 16th minute, defender Saad Abdul-Salaam rushed into the box to collect a pass from midfielder Solomon Asante. Adbul-Salaam took one touch into the middle of the box before leaving a pass off for Cortez. The club record holder for most goals in a single season placed a perfect shot to beat the goalkeeper and make it 1-0. The goal moves Cortez into second place in the USL Golden Boot race.
The team held on to the one-goal lead for over an hour thanks to stalwart defending from the back line and timely goalkeeping from Woszczynski.
No save was bigger than the one that came in the 84th minute. Seattle’s David Olsen smashed a free kick from just outside of the box and looked to put it just under the crossbar at the center of the net. But Woszczynski managed to make a fingertip save to push the ball over the bar and maintain the clean sheet.
Phoenix Rising finishes its three-match road swing next Saturday, September 22, at Colorado Springs to face Switchbacks FC. The match is scheduled to kickoff at 5 p.m.