PHOENIX, AZ (May 23, 2013) – Phoenix FC snapped a three-match losing streak (two in USL PRO play) in earning a 2-2 draw with the Charlotte Eagles Thursday night at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.
Midfielder Scott Morrison, celebrating his 29th birthday, scored on a brilliant free kick in the 17th minute, then assisted teammate Donny Toia for Toia’s curling 25-yard shot into the far corner of the goal in the 38th minute.
The Wolves moved to 2-5-3 in their inaugural USL PRO season, good for nine points in the league standings. They hadn’t gotten a point from a game since a May 3 home game against Pittsburgh.
The Eagles took the early lead despite the highly-anticipated return of Phoenix FC forward Darren Mackie, who was making his first start of the season after appearing in only one other match as a reserve. Mackie, who played all 90 minutes, made an impact right away with a run and shot on goal in the first minute of the match.
Christian Ramirez got between two defenders and scored in the fifth minute. But Phoenix FC was undaunted, as leading goal scorer Diego Faria had his open shot go just wide in the 10th minute.
The Wolves seemed to lure the Eagles into a lull with a delay just before Morrison let fly with his free kick. It went in to tie the score.
Mackie was a presence to be accounted for, especially in the first half. But in the 35th minute, Drew Yates crossed to Sergio Villasenor, and the Mexican national was in front of the goal to knock the ball past goalkeeper Andrew Weber of the Wolves.
Phoenix FC’s Toia had the ball on the wing far from the goal in the 38th minute when he let fly with a ball into the goal area. It was hit so well that Eagles goalkeeper Eric Reed lost it and the ball bounced into the goal.
The second half saw the two teams battle for possession, but it was Phoenix FC that had the upper hand more often. Faria had a shot from point blank range blocked in the 55th minute, and the crowd of 1,903 gasped as substitute Peabo made a fine move to clear some space but saw his shot fly over the cross bar.
Phoenix FC outshot the Eagles (3-0-4) 9-7 and Weber made four saves to Reed’s three. The match also marked the debut of defender Isaiah Schafer, who came on as a sub for the Wolves in the 72nd minute.
Phoenix FC is on the road for its next four matches, starting with back-to-back gamesMay 31 and June 1 at Richmond and Wilmington. The club’s next home match is June 15 against the Real Salt Lake reserves.
Phoenix FC: (GK) Andrew Weber; (D) Renan Boufleur, Devon Grousis, Cyprian Hedrick, Donny Toia; (M) Netinho, Diego Faria, Scott Morrison, Anthony Obodai; (F) Darren Mackie, Aaron King; (Res.) Josh Bento, Peabo Doue, Brian Holmes, Jose Ramos, Tommy Ramos, Isaiah Schafer, Sheldon Parkinson
Charlotte Eagles: (GK) Reed; (D) Courtney, Gold, Newman, Okiomah; (M) Okai, Villasenor, Waul, Yates; (F) Ramirez, Smith; (Res.) Asante, Francis, Guzman, Hererra, Jimenez, Meza, Prado
CHA: Christian Ramirez 5′
PFC: Scott Morrison 17′
CHA: Sergio Villsenor 35′
PFC: Donny Toia (Scott Morrison) 38′
PFC: Devon Grousis 79
Referees: Juan Colazo, Paul Nothman, Mike Ambrose, Jorge Curiel
For more information on Phoenix FC, visit their official website.