Santi Moar sinks former team with 90th-minute winner for Phoenix Rising

Aug 28, 2021, 11:18 PM
Phoenix Rising FC winger Santi Moar scores a 90th-minute game-winner in a 3-2 win over New Mexico U...
Phoenix Rising FC winger Santi Moar scores a 90th-minute game-winner in a 3-2 win over New Mexico United on Aug. 28, 2021 at Wild Horse Pass in Chander, Ariz. (Owain Evans Photo)
(Owain Evans Photo)

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Phoenix Rising FC ended its four-match winless streak with an emphatic 3-2 win over New Mexico United on Saturday night at Wild Horse Pass.

Former New Mexico winger Santi Moar secured Phoenix all three points with his 90th-minute game-winner against his former side.

Rising remains unbeaten at its new stadium with a record of 8W-3D-0L while Moar retakes the team lead in goals with nine.

“It’s obviously a really emotional game, two great fan bases, two great teams,” Moar said postgame. “I’m glad the three points stayed here tonight. I guess I’m on the good side.”

“I loved it, I loved it,” the Spaniard added of getting heckled by New Mexico fans at home. “I really love when people chant against me. They kind of pumped me up a little bit more.”

PRFC manager Rick Schantz elected to start winger Joey Calistri in place of captain Solomon Asante, who will remain sidelined for another week or two with a hamstring injury.

The decision to start Calistri proved to be a golden one, as he bagged a brace seven minutes apart in the second half to put Rising ahead 2-1 in the 66th minute.

The goals also mark the third and fourth Calistri has scored against New Mexico in his last three matches.

“I’m so proud of them, they fought,” Schantz said postgame. “To go down a goal and come back in an emotional match against a team that wanted to beat us so badly.

“We weren’t playing fantastic, but once it opened up a little bit our transition got going the way it used to be and we had speed and intensity. We’re not going to let the fans down. And what do you say about Joey Calistri? Everyone in New Mexico must hate this guy. I’m sure glad he’s here with us.”

United equalized at 2-2 via an unfortunate own goal in the 80th minute after Rising goalkeeper Andre Rawls punched a cross that hit PRFC center back James Musa and redirected into the back of Phoenix’s net.

Sergio Rivas opened the scoring less than a quarter of an hour into the match to put New Mexico ahead in the 11th minute.

The win extends Rising’s (41 points in 20 matches) lead atop the Pacific Divison standings to 11 points with a game in hand on second-placed Orange County SC and San Diego Loyal SC — who both stand at 30 points in 21 matches played.

El Paso Locomotive (41 points in 19 matches) and Louisville City (41 points in 20 matches) both lost on the night in their respective matches, which really opens things back up for home-field advantage in the USL Championship playoffs.

Phoenix Rising now finds itself level on points with El Paso but with an extra game played for the top spot in the Western Conference, while PRFC is now even with the Eastern Conference’s best — which is a tie between Lou City, Tampa Bay Rowdies (41 points in 20 matches) and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (40 points in 22 matches).

“After the tough results we’ve had the last three or four games, it showed the character of this time,” Calistri said.

“Despite the ups and downs, we feel like we have everything we need to be successful this season. We’ll be able to go out and win trophies.”

EXTRA TIME

Newly signed forward Darren Mattocks made his PRFC debut as a substitute after coming on for David Egbo in the 74th minute and almost scored with his first touch of the game, but the Jamaican sent his shot wide.

UP NEXT

Phoenix Rising travels away to Tacoma Defiance for a Pacific Division clash next Sunday afternoon.

Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. Catch all the action on ArizonaSports.com and the Arizona Sports app.

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