Photo Courtesy Charis Wilson/Seattle Sounders FC 2
TUKWILA, Wash. – Phoenix Rising FC stayed hot with a tight 1-0 win against Seattle Sounders FC 2 at Starfire Sports Complex on Wednesday night to run its undefeated streak to nine games and move into fifth place in the Western Conference. Just when it seemed the teams would be going to the break scoreless, Rising FC took the lead as Chris Cortez found Alessandro Riggi, who hit a ball across the face of goal into the bottom-left corner of the net to take a 1-0 lead at halftime. Seattle started the match well, but struggled to break down the Phoenix defense until a 34th minute free kick gave S2 a golden opportunity. Zach Mathers hit a powerful dipping free kick over the wall, only for Phoenix goalkeeper Josh Cohen to get his fingers to it and turn it onto the crossbar. After trying to get back into the match in the second half S2’s chances took a heavy hit in the 64th minute when Jordy Delem was shown a second yellow card for a challenge over the top of the ball. Despite that S2 very nearly had an equalizer in the last minute as Azriel Gonzalez went inches away from scoring his first professional goal with a good volley which went just over the bar.
44’ – PHX – Alessandro Riggi (Chris Cortez)
Three Things That Matter:
1. After struggling for much of the season on the road, Rising FC has gone on a phenomenal run, with five straight matches undefeated away from home. That is part of a larger nine-match unbeaten run which has seen it rise into the USL Cup Playoffs places, finishing the evening in fifth place.
2. Seattle continued its poor run of form as its defeat saw its winless streak move to five games. In the past four-game span, during which the side is 0-2-2, S2 has only scored two goals, its lowest-scoring four-match run since July.
3. With just three matches remaining for Seattle in the regular season, Wednesday night's loss all but ended the team's playoff hopes. All three of its final regular season contests are on the road, and with S2 having a poor 4-8-1 record away from home getting nine points will be difficult, and may well not be enough with seven points needed to close the gap.
Alessandro Riggi, Phoenix Rising FC – Riggi was a force for Rising FC as he constantly threatened the S2 defense. Scoring a goal himself, Riggi created four chances on the back of three successful crosses. Riggi was a strong distributor of the ball throughout the match, managing 37 passes with a passing accuracy of 75.7 percent.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 at Tulsa Roughnecks FC – October 7, 8 p.m. ET, ONEOK Field
Phoenix Rising FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – September 24, 6 p.m. ET, Thunderbird Stadium