Phoenix FC got a much-needed victory Friday night, 1-0 over Antigua Barracuda FC thanks to a goal from Diego Faria in the 34th minute and some good defending.
The Wolves, trying to stay alive for a playoff spot in USL Pro and in need of three points from wins in their remaining matches, bid goodbye to a 12-match winless streak that included five draws. Phoenix FC’s last win was April 28, 3-1 against the Wilmington (N.C.) Hammerheads at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.
Diego’s goal was his third of the season, tying him for most goals on the team in league play with Donny Toia. Diego scored on a header, taking a chip pass from Anthony Obodai and sneaking in far post for the finish.
It was Phoenix FC’s first lead in a match since May 11 at Dayton, and first lead at home since a 1-0 advantage in the first half against Pittsburgh in what turned out to be a 1-1 draw on May 3.
The Wolves had more chances to add goals. Tommy Ramos had a great look for a diving header in the 18th minute that hit the post and caromed away.
In the 51st minute, Donny Toia tried a shot from distance with his outside foot that missed high. He also missed with a rocket from long distance in the 66th minute as the Wolves dominated most of the attacking play.
The 78th minute saw starting goalkeeper Sheldon Parkinson leave the match due to injury, replaced by Humberto Soriano.
Soriano, playing in his first match of the season, got tested right away. Barracuda FC midfielder Tamorley Thomas made run and fired a low dribbler on net, the ball sliding past the far post and out of play in the 80th minute.
Cyprian Hedrick led another strong defensive effort as the Wolves have four shutouts in their last five matches.
A crowd of 984 at reconfigured Sun Devil Soccer Stadium witnessed the match. Toia finished with three shots and Anthony Obodai earned an assist.
“The group kept focus and for this game, we definitely had to respect the opponent,” Diego said via translation from teammate Travis Bowen. “That’s what helped us win this game. We could have had more goals but first it starts with one.”
Phoenix FC is now 3-10-6 and has 15 standings points. It hosts Antigua again on July 11 at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix at 7:30 p.m. local time. ABFC remains winless at 0-17.