(Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents Phoenix Rising Football Club.)
By Phoenix Rising Communications
PHOENIX, ARIZONA (Friday, April 30) – Phoenix Rising FC opened its new home at Wild Horse Pass with a resounding, 4-1, win vs. San Diego Loyal SC tonight.
Just as in Rising’s 2020 postseason run, Santi Moar led the way with a goal and two assists. Jon Bakero and Aodhan Quinn also picked up goals for Phoenix, which is back in action at Wild Horse Pass again next Saturday, May 8, against Oakland Roots. That match is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on CW 61 Arizona.
Rising started the match off on the attack, when Moar got the ball on the left flank and centered a pass for Rufat Dadashov. Phoenix’s No. 9 brought the ball down and laid it off in the path of Bakero to hit with his first touch, but the midfielder’s strike went well over the bar.
Rising continued to attack near the 15th minute when Solomon Asante got the ball wide to Dadashov. The big striker lined up a shot and fired a line-drive that caught the wrong side of the back post and skipped away from danger.
Rising finally broke through in the 39th minute when Ryan Flood hit an absolute rocket from well outside the area. San Diego goalkeeper Trey Muse did well to punch away the line-drive shot but Bakero was there to put away the rebound, recording the first goal for Rising at Wild Hose Pass.
Phoenix came out of the half still pressing the attack and went ahead, 2-0, in the 55th minute when Santi Moar cut inside and laid a ball off for Bakero to fire on goal. The shot came through a crowd, screening San Diego’s goalkeeper, who got a hand to it, but Moar reacted first to the rebound and slammed home the loose ball.
San Diego cut the lead in half in the 65th minute when Ben Spencer hit a first-touch shot to finish off a cross that was played in from the left side, but Moar fired right back, combining with Bakero at the top of the area before launching another rocket that Muse parried away.
Aodhan Quiin opened his account in Phoenix to reestablish the two-goal lead when Moar cut inside and pushed the ball through into space out wide. Quinn collected the ball well inside the area, on the other side of San Diego’s back line, and calmly picked out the far side netting to make it 3-1.
Moar picked up his second assist on Kevon Lambert’s goal in the 80th minute. Lambert had time to pick up his head and fire a low shot, past Muse and into the corner of the goal to make it a 4-1 final.
PHX – Jon Bakero 39
PHX – Santi Moar 55
SD – Ben Spencer 65
PHX – Aodhan Quinn (Moar) 66
PHX – Kevon Lambert (Moar) 80
PHX – James Musa (caution) 29
Phoenix Rising FC – Andre Rawls (Edward Delgado 90+4), Ryan Flood, James Musa, Tobi Adewole, Darnell King, Aodhan Quinn (Jeremy Kelly 78), Kevon Lambert, Jon Bakero, Santi Moar (Prince Saydee 86), Rufat Dadashov (Seyi Adekoya 86), Solomon Asante (Joey Calistri 90+4).
San Diego Loyal SC – Trey Muse, Grant Stoneman, Thomas Vancaeyezelle, Josh Yaro, Jack Metcalf, Charlie Adams, Collin Martin, Jack Blake (Sal Zizzo 86), Tumi Moshobane, Corey Hertzog (Morgan Hackworth 86), Niki Jackson (Ben Spencer 61).
Postgame Quote Sheet
On the team’s dominating offensive performance tonight:
“I told the guys today before the game started that the crest they wear is not a crest, it’s a shield. I used a line from the movie 300 with the Spartans, and I said that nobody breaks your shields when you come together, and you have to stay together. All the noise outside, all the concern and the worry about preseason, nobody else can hold a shield but you guys. And boy, they really protected the house.”
On whether the atmosphere at the new stadium exceeded his expectations:
“It felt like the old stadium a little bit. It was awesome, I felt that vibe, the red smoke when we scored goals. And when I got that feeling I was like, okay, we’re home. You don’t want to close a chapter on our history at all. From what we did at the old stadium, now it’s kind of come here, a new post. It was fantastic, I was so happy and so proud of the boys.”
On what happened with Andre Rawls at the end of the game and on Zac Lubin’s back:
“He tweaked his groin. You know, these goalkeepers don’t like to run very much and he sprinted out. I’m a little concerned, but that’s why Lalo (Delgado) is here. I want to wish Zac Lubin well. He had a surgery on his back today. Everything went really well, he’s going to be back on the field in a couple of months, but Zac, we’re here for you, brother. Those three points were for him.”
On how important it was for the club to address the controversy (last year with SD) and put it behind them:
“It’s extremely important. I personally still have to continue to improve and grow as a human being, but it’s good to kind of move beyond that and start talking about some positive things. Collin Martin, what a good player. They were so good tonight and we had to do everything we could to stop them. I said before the game, this was never about Phoenix and San Diego, this was always about Collin Martin and the LGBTQ community, and they’re accepted, and they should be in football, and football is for everybody. I’m just proud to be part of a club that’s willing to move on.”
On how this game and result felt after a tough preseason:
“It feels like a million dollars. We were waiting for this for a long time and there was obviously pressure coming into this game, the biggest game of the week, and we came out as a group and we got the win that we all wanted.”
On what the difference was between their play today and preseason:
I don’t know. We learned from the mistakes and today we were very focussed, very, very focussed, and I think that was the difference. Coming here knowing that it’s going to be a difficult game, we treated it like that and thankfully we got the result.”
On how much of a statement this win was:
“We still have three games against them. We still have to play against them a few more times, so this doesn’t prove anything. It proves we need to keep working to get results.”
On what it was like to make a statement win like this after a tough preseason:
“We knew it was coming and it was building up. All of our forwards were hungry for goals and that’s just the beginning of what’s going to come for the year.”
On what the coaches told him before the game:
“Just soak it in, enjoy the moment, and just live for the moment.”
On what his emotions were like when he found out he was starting:
“I couldn’t speak. I was speechless in the moment, with all my teammates congratulating me. It was a pretty cool moment to have.”
On what the key to their defensive pressure was:
“We just wanted to play high and we wanted their keeper to have the ball as much as possible, and make him a playmaker. And it worked, and they kept giving us the ball right away, and we kept countering and scoring a lot of goals.”