Phoenix Rising lose at Orange County for the first time since 2015
Phoenix Rising FC stepped onto Orange County SC’s pitch Saturday night in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Final, which PRFC won, 2-1.
Rising was hoping to leave Championship Stadium with the same result, but it wasn’t in the cards for Phoenix as OCSC took all three points with, coincidentally, a 2-1 victory.
PRFC captain Solomon Asante was not available for Saturday night’s match, as the Ghanaian’s father passed away earlier this week. Midfielder Joey Calistri started in his place (his first start for Rising) while defender Amadou Dia wore the captain’s armband.
Manager Rick Schantz was also without super-sub Jason Johnson who was named on the injury list prior to the game.
However, Phoenix was able to get Jon Bakero back after he had paperwork troubles regarding his visa. The Spaniard did not start the match, but was brought on for Collin Fernandez in the 58th minute.
OC was the more dangerous side in the opening stages of the first half, as Rising goalkeeper Zac Lubin was tested just two minutes into the match, but April’s Player of the Month nominee was up to the task.
Orange County eventually opened up the scoring in the 28th minute after Aodhan Quinn converted from the penalty spot following Kevon Lambert’s foul inside PRFC’s box.
OC forward Michael Seaton, who was second on the team in goals last season (15) and lead the team in playoff goals (3), started the match on the bench.
The Jamaican’s presence was felt immediately, however, as Seaton was able to poke one into the back of the net with his first touch of the game just seconds after coming on in the 57th minute.
It was a poacher’s goal that gave Orange County a 2-0 lead after the ball bounced around Phoenix’s six-yard box, hit Lubin and fell to the feet of Seaton.
Rising striker Adam Jahn was able to get one back for his side in the 70th minute on a set piece from just outside the side of the box. Bakero was able to find the 6-foot-3 Jahn who headed the ball into the back of the net (his third of the season), cutting OC’s lead in half.
But the third goal of the game would be its last, as Orange County was able to defend wave after wave of Phoenix’s attack.
OCSC was able to hold Rising to only 10 total shots and four on target, both below PRFC’s per game average of 18 and six, respectively.
Phoenix Rising FC will host Rio Grande Valley FC Toros at Casino Arizona Field on May 10 in the first Copper State Friday of the season.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and the match can be audio streamed on ArizonaSports.com.