It was not the night Phoenix Rising FC was expecting early Saturday against Oklahoma Energy FC at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in Scottsdale.
Injuries became the story of the evening, as midfielders Luke Rooney and Alessandro Riggi both went down within five minutes of each other in the first half with right knee injuries.
But a flurry of second half goals, including a last-second winner by Shaun Wright-Phillips led Phoenix Rising FC to a 2-1 victory over Energy FC in front of 6, 259 fans.
After conceding a penalty kick goal to Kyle Hyland in the 93rd minute, it set up the final minute heroics. Chris Cortez was able to drive a ball down the right-hand side, finding Wright-Phillips in the box, who was able to turn, and fire a shot low to the left of Cody Laurendi, finding the back of the net for the winner.
Early on, Phoenix, Rising had the better of the early play. In the eighth minute, Wright-Phillips chipped a ball into the box, but Laurendi was able to get to it. Phoenix Rising had chances again in the 11th and 16 minutes, but the Energy were able to defend.
Then the injuries began to pile up. Rooney went down on a non-contact play in the 21st minute and was down for almost three minutes. He got up, received attention on the bench, tried to play again, but could not continue and was subbed by Miguel Timm in the 26th minute.
Two minutes later, Riggi went down again on another non-contact play. He was unable to put any weight on his right knee and was subbed off for Jason Johnson.
Johnson made his presence known right away in the 33rd minute, making a run down the right side, crossing a ball in but it went over the head of Omar Bravo. Four minutes later, Johnson found himself in the box, but calls for a penalty were waived away by the referee.
Then in the 51st minute, right back Kody Wakasa began an attack down the right and found Johnson in the box, who turned and put a shot between the defenders legs and low to the left corner past Laurendi for the 1-0 lead.
Energy FC got its first chance in the 55th minute, when Jordan Stewart and Peter Ramage both saved balls inside the 18, and Miguel Gonzalez drilled a shot in the 61st minute off the post.
Johnson again had appeals for a penalty in the box in the 64th minute, but again was denied by the referee.
Energy FC’s best chance to tie the match came in the 75th minute, when Miguel Gonzalez drilled another shot, but Josh Cohen came up big with a punch over the bar.
Phoenix Rising almost doubled its lead in the 80th minute, when Omar Bravo whipped a corner kick into the box to the head of Cortez, but Laurendi came up with a big save.
Bravo almost had his first goal of the season three minutes later, but Cortez blocked it inside the 6 on its way to the goal. Bravo had another chance in the 88th minute, but just missed wide on a free kick.
Phoenix Rising returns to action Wednesday in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup against PDL side Fresno Fuego at 7 p.m., and then travels to Texas to face San Antonio FC in a USL league game Saturday.