Photo courtesy Michael Rincon / Phoenix Rising FC
PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC scored in the 90th minute through Alessandro Riggi to earn a 1-1 draw with Fresno FC despite playing much of the game down to 10 men before a crowd of 5,829 at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex on Saturday night. Riggi latched onto a pass by Solomon Asante to lift the hosts at the death as his finish powered into the roof of the net to salvage a second consecutive draw for the hosts. Phoenix’s Jason Johnson almost struck in the 10th minute with a volleyed finish that was blocked in the middle of the penalty area, and Rising FC also went close through Gladson Awako that produced a good reflex save by Fresno goalkeeper Kyle Reynish a couple of minutes later. Fresno’s Danny Barrera had the first good effort for the visitors as he forced a diving save through traffic by Rising FC goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski in the 15th minute. Phoenix was reduced to 10 men in the 26th minute when Amadou Dia was shown a red card for a reckless challenge on the Foxes’ Juan Pablo Caffa, and two minutes into the second half the Foxes broke down the home defense as Alex Cooper found Jemal Johnson for a first-time finish to the right corner. Phoenix tried to hit back despite their man-disadvantage and went close in the 62nd minute only for Johnson’s finish to go over the crossbar. Renato Bustamante went close to doubling the Foxes’ lead with a long-range strike that was save by Woszczynski with 14 minutes to go, but in the final minute Riggi struck to earn the hosts a point.
47’ – FRS – Jemal Johnson (Alex Cooper)
90’ – PHX – Alessandro Riggi (Solomon Asante)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Rising FC’s Alessandro Riggi came on as a final throw of the dice for the hosts with 13 minutes to go and ended up the scene-stealer with his first goal of the new season. Phoenix’s chance came through a great pass by Solomon Asante, who for a second consecutive week was instrumental in a late equalizer, and Riggi’s first-time finish into the roof of the net game Fresno goalkeeper Kyle Reynish little chance as Rising FC snapped up a point in gutsy fashion.
2. Deprived of their leading playmaker in Juan Pablo Caffa due to his first-half injury it took some time for Fresno FC to get things on track offensively when it went up a man midway through the first half, and despite finding the lead through a decisive move early in the second half the Foxes will be disappointed they didn’t produce more with their man-advantage that ended up costing them dearly in the end. The visitors will now be hoping Caffa isn’t sidelined for long after conceding a late equalizer for the second time in the past three games to end with a fourth consecutive draw.
3. Phoenix made a strong start to the game but were put under the pump when Amadou Dia was sent off for an unnecessary challenge on Foxes forward Juan Pablo Caffa in the 26th minute that could have forced Rising FC to side deep and counterattack after being put down a man. Despite being a man down, though, Rising FC continued to try and carry the game as well as they could while avoiding long spells of pressure from their hosts which allowed the side to keep the door open for what proved to be a last-gasp equalizer.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Solomon Asante, Phoenix Rising FC – Asante provided the assist on Alessandro Riggi’s game-tying goal, one of seven key passes on the night as he completed 26 of 35 passes overall.
Phoenix Rising FC vs. LA Galaxy II – May 4, 10:30 p.m. ET, Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex
Fresno FC at San Antonio FC – May 5, 8:30 p.m. ET, Toyota Field