Solo Asante’s goal, 3 assists lead Phoenix Rising to thrashing of Los Dos
CHANDLER, Ariz. — Phoenix Rising FC improved to 8-2-2 on the season with a decisive 5-0 victory over LA Galaxy II on Saturday night at Wild Horse Pass.
PRFC is now 6W-0L-1D at the new stadium in Chandler and also lead the Pacific Division standings with 26 points.
“The guys did really well. There were a few shaky moments in the first half but we were trying to be a little bit different in our build-up play,” manager Rick Schantz said.
“James [Musa] and Joe [Farrell] seemed a bit nervous early on but they settled in really well. It always helps when you get a couple of goals. With Solo Asante on the field, you know something good is going to happen.”
Phoenix captain Solomon Asante led the way for Rising with a goal and three assists, while striker Rufat Dadashov also netted a goal and forward David Egbo had a brace.
Asante won a free kick at the top of the area for Rising in the 18th minute of the match. Slightly off-center to the right side and 20 yards from goal, the captain and midfielder Aodhan Quinn stood over the ball before Asante curled a shot over the wall and beyond the reach of Los Dos goalkeeper Eric Lopez.
Unfortunately for the Ghanaian, the attempt cracked off the woodwork and was ushered away from danger by a defender.
Asante earned another set piece for Phoenix in the 33rd minute. Quinn stepped in to curl a left-footed ball to the back post, where midfielder Kevon Lambert rose above the crowd to nod a pass back into the center of the six-yard box where Musa found himself alone and redirected a header past Lopez to make it 1-0.
“Set pieces are a massive part of the game. We speak about it in preseason all the way through to the playoffs,” Musa said. “How can we in the positives on set pieces? Can we score more than we allow?
“At the moment we’re plus seven. Tonight we added to that total but as long as we keep improving those numbers, the points will come.”
The captain got his goal to make it 2-0 in the 40th minute, as Dadashov held up the ball in the left corner of the box near the end line and drew multiple defenders while Asante slipped in at the back post unnoticed.
Dadashov played a ball across the face of goal to the two-time defending league MVP, who tapped a low shot into the corner for his team-leading eighth goal of the season.
Seconds later, Farrell got back defensively to save a shot off Rising’s goal line and preserve the two-goal advantage.
Back at the opposite end, Asante returned the favor to Dadashov and centered a pass to the wide-open striker in the 45th minute. The quick turnover deep in Los Dos’ third of the pitch left Lopez and the rest of the Galaxy II defenders helpless as they watched Dadashov make it 3-0 just before the halftime whistle.
“I don’t have anything to prove here,” Dadashov said. “I showed what I am capable of, but I don’t have to prove anything to the coaches or myself.
“Everyone knows what I can do. I was pretty chill before the game. I knew we would have a good game today.”
Asante picked up his second assist of the match in the 78th minute when substitute David Egbo came free at the far post. The captain sent a long, 35-yard cross to the back post, where the Nigerian dove to drive a sharp header past Lopez to make it 4-0.
Egbo scored his second after Asante poked a pass forward into the space between Lopez and the last LA defender in the 90th minute. Egbo beat Lopez to the ball by a step, pushed the ball into space behind the goalkeeper and was in all alone on goal with 50 yards to transverse.
The forward tapped the ball a few feet from goal before firing a hard shot into the empty net to bring the match to its final scoreline of 5-0 in favor of Phoenix.
Phoenix Rising travels to San Diego to take on Pacific Division rival Loyal SC on Saturday.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be audio broadcast live on ArizonaSports.com and on the Arizona Sports app.
Phoenix Rising FC contributed to this story.