Photo courtesy LA Galaxy II
CARSON, Calif. – Jason Johnson scored a goal and added an assist as Phoenix Rising FC took a 2-1 comeback victory against the LA Galaxy II on Saturday night at StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium. Johnson went close to opening the scoring in the fourth minute as his low shot was saved by LA goalkeeper Clement Diop. The French goalkeeper had to be sharp again to deny Johnson’s shot seven minutes later, and Eric Avila sent an ensuing chance off the crossbar as Rising FC pressed for the opening goal. Instead, it was Los Dos who took the lead in the 13th minute as Ethan Zubak got in behind the Rising FC defense and pulled back a pass to Ariel Lassiter, who roofed his finish. Rising FC got back on level terms just past the half-hour mark as Avila tapped home from Johnson’s low cross to cap an excellent move, and the game remained level until the break. Phoenix was then given a big chance to take the lead on the hour-mark when Avila was brought down in the penalty area, and Jason Johnson converted low to the left corner to make it 2-1. Both teams threatened from the edge of the penalty area, with both LA’s Lassiter and Phoenix’s Shaun Wright-Phillips having efforts saved. LA’s Andre Zanga had a late chance fly high with a minute to go, too,
13’ – LA – Ariel Lassiter (Ethan Zubak)
32’ – PHX – Eric Avila (Jason Johnson)
61’ – PHX – Jason Johnson (penalty)
Three Things That Matter:
1. For a second time this season, Phoenix Rising FC recovered from going behind against the LA Galaxy II to earn a big three points, and newcomer Eric Avila was at the center of the key moments in the win. The former Orlando City SC midfielder almost had the opening goal of the game with a shot that clipped the crossbar, but his excellent run after sending the ball wide to Jason Johnson provided a key equalizer before the halftime break that allowed Phoenix to settle. Avila was then brought down for a penalty kick with half-an-hour to go which proved the decisive moment in the match.
2. Alongside Avila was Jason Johnson, whose recent run of good form continued with a goal and assist on the night, including a calm finish from the penalty spot that Galaxy II goalkeeper Clement Diop couldn’t quite keep out. Johnson has come into his own in recent games for Rising FC, scoring the opening goal in Rising FC’s dramatic victory against OKC Energy FC two weeks ago. With the number of attacking options available to Rising FC, Johnson is making sure he will remain part of the puzzle.
3. The Galaxy II showed how important Saturday night’s game was to their season with the desperation they put into trying to find an equalizer in the final 15 minutes, but the finishing was lacking as Ariel Lassiter’s shot from just outside the penalty area was the only effort to force a save by Los Dos in the second half. After taking the lead against Phoenix on Saturday there was a good chance for the side to push on and make it two wins out of the last three games, but Rising FC made its chances count to send LA to another defeat.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jason Johnson, Phoenix Rising FC – Johnson provided the assist on Eric Avila’s opening goal, and then scored what proved to be the game-winner from the penalty spot for a big road victory.
LA Galaxy II at Seattle Sounders FC 2 – June 3, 10 p.m. ET, Starfire Stadium
Phoenix Rising FC at OKC Energy FC – June 6, 8:30 p.m. ET, Taft Stadium