Santi Moar’s 90th-minute winner clinches playoff berth for Phoenix Rising

Sep 26, 2021, 12:08 AM | Updated: Oct 8, 2021, 7:07 pm
Phoenix Rising FC's Santi Moar (#7) playing against Tacoma Defiance in a USL Championship Pacific D...
Phoenix Rising FC's Santi Moar (#7) playing against Tacoma Defiance in a USL Championship Pacific Division match at Cheney Stadium on Sept. 25, 2021. (Photo courtesy of PRFC)
(Photo courtesy of PRFC)

TACOMA, Wash. — Phoenix Rising FC (17W-5D-3L, 56 points) officially qualified for the 2021 postseason with a 2-1 win Saturday night over Tacoma Defiance at Cheney Stadium.

Santi Moar scored the game-winner for Rising in the 90th minute of the match. It was Moar’s sixth consecutive match with a goal.

Jon Bakero opened the scoring for Phoenix with his third of the season. That goal came in the 80th minute, just six minutes after subbing into the game for forward Darren Mattocks.

Rising outshot Tacoma 10-1 in the first half but were unable to break down Defiance’s defensive formation through the first 45 minutes of play despite having a steep, 73% to 27% advantage in possession.

Darnell King saved a sure goal when he tracked back and ran down Tacoma forward Samuel Adeniran, who was in-alone on goal against Andre Rawls in the 62nd minute. Defiance’s Ray Serrano put Adeniran through with a pass that split a pair of Rising defenders, but King used his speed to catch up to the forward, sliding to block a shot that looked destined for the low corner of the net.

Tacoma tied the match just two minutes after Phoenix’s opener when a long ball was played up the left flank to Samuel Adeniran. Rawls charged off his line to clear the ball away from danger but came up empty on his attempt, leaving Adeniran to collect the loose ball and deposit it into the empty net to make it 1-1.


Rising travels away to LA Galaxy II in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Catch all the action on and the ArizonaSports app.

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