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Rising FC captures 4th clean sheet in 5 matches after 0-0 draw

Doueugui Mala. (Photo courtesy of Phoenix Rising FC)

Phoenix Rising FC traveled to Sacramento for a matchup with Western Conference foe Republic FC.

The match ended the way it started: in a 0-0 stalemate.

Phoenix Rising manager Rick Schantz only made two changes to his starting XI from last week against Tacoma Defiance FC. Defender Joey Farrell and midfielder Devin Vega were replaced by Doueugui Mala and Jose Aguinaga, respectively. Farrell was listed on the injury report with a lower-body injury after coming off last week with an injury that required stitches.

Republic FC manager Simon Elliott shocked many by leaving his leading goal scorer Cameron Iwasa out of the starting XI.

It was a tale of two halves as the first half was a back-and-forth affair that saw numerous chances test both goalkeepers. Current Sacramento and former Rising keeper Josh Cohen put in a man of the match performance with two unbelievable saves, adding to the list of incredible goalkeeping performances by opposing sides against Phoenix.

SAC was the only team on the night to put a ball in the back of the net, but Tyler Blackwood’s goal was disallowed as he was in an offside position on the initial shot.

The disallowed goal kept Zac Lubin’s clean sheet hopes alive as he made his biggest save in the 69th minute on a Kevon Aleman shot from inside the box that was smothered by a diving Lubin, leading to his fourth clean sheet in five matches since becoming the starting goalkeeper.

Rising FC’s defense has now only allowed one goal in its last five matches while securing eight of its last 15 points possible.

The second half left much to be desired.

Although the two teams combined for 28 shots, only five were on target with the majority coming in the first half.

And unfortunately for Phoenix Rising FC and Schantz, both Jason Johnson and Mala were forced to come off after they both suffered lower-body injuries. Mala was replaced by Austin Ledbetter, the first player to ever be called up from FC Tucson to PRFC.

In the dying minutes of the match, Rising captain Solomon Asante could’ve captured all three points for his side, but the Ghanaian was unable to keep his shot from the penalty area on frame.

In all, the point is a well-deserved result for both sides, as the two practically split every statistical category nearly 50-50. The draw doesn’t do much for either side in the standings, however, as the two clubs both came in with ten points and left level at 11 points apiece.

Phoenix Rising FC returns to action on May 4 away to Orange County SC in a rematch of last season’s Western Conference Final in which PRFC won, 2-1.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the match can be audio streamed on ArizonaSports.com.