Bravo nets first USL goal in Phoenix Rising draw with Real Monarchs SLC

Phoenix Rising's  Omar Bravo, left, and Shaun Wright Phillips are seen against Whitecaps FC on June 10, 2017 atthe Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in Scottsdale. Photo by Aaron Blau/Firebird Rising
Phoenix Rising’s Omar Bravo, left, and Shaun Wright Phillips are seen against Whitecaps FC on June 10, 2017 atthe Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in Scottsdale. Photo by Aaron Blau/Firebird Rising

On a hot night in Scottsdale, Phoenix Rising FC and Real Monarchs SLC duked it out for 90 minutes, but could only muster a goal apiece in the first half, including Omar Bravo’s first USL goal, in a 1-1 draw in front of 6,365 fans, the seventh straight sellout for the club.

Phoenix Rising had a couple early chances within the first 10 minutes. A steal by Didier Drogba in the third minute led to a chance to feed Shaun Wright-Phillips but just missed connecting. Three minutes later, Matt Watson crossed in a ball from the right to Victor Vasquez, whose header went right into the hands of Connor Sparrow.

But Real Monarchs struck first in the 12th minute, when Real Monarchs switched the play to the left side, where defender Demar Phillips struck a cross over Watson and found Daniel Haber in the box, and Haber beat defender Peter Ramage and drove the ball past Josh Cohen for the 1-0 kead.

Drogba had a great attempt on net in the 23rd minute off a free kick from 35 yards out. His shot knuckled on Sparrow, who knocked it away to the feet of Kody Wakasa, whose put back went over the top of the net. Drogba had another attempt in the 36th minute with a fancy touch at the top of the box, but his shot was saved by Sparrow.

In the 39th minute, Wright-Phillips hit a corner to Drogba, who headed it on frame but it was saved by Sparrow. Wakasa found the rebound, but hit it off Bravo.

But Bravo found the back of the net in the 45th minute for his first USL goal of the season. Drogba started the play outside the box, and found a streaking Watson in the box, who dropped it off for Bravo, who found the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1 as the half came to an end.

Play quietly started in the second half. Phoenix Rising had its first chance in the 61st minute on a corner kick by Wright-Phillips, but his ball landed harmlessly in the box and cleared away. Real Monarchs countered with a run from Haber on defender Jordan Stewart, but his ball went just wide.

Phoenix Rising had a chance in the 66th minute when a harmless ball on the sideline fell to Bravo, whose cross to Wakasa just missed connecting.

Real Monarchs had a chance right after the corner. In the 70th minute, Andrew Brody split a couple defender and put a shot on goal that Cohen saved.

Phoenix Rising tried to score in the 86th minute, when Bravo hit a cross into substitute Jason Johnson, whose header was too soft and into the hands of Sparrow.

Phoenix Rising had two excellent chances in stoppage time, one by Johnson and another by Bravo, but both chances fell short as the final whistle blew.

Phoenix Rising now heads out onto the road for a two-game road trip, starting Friday, June 30 in Reno.