After 90 minutes and stoppage time, Phoenix Rising FC walked away from Reno with a 0-0 draw on Friday night against Reno 1868 FC.
This was the second matchup between the two teams, where Reno previously beat Phoenix Rising in Phoenix 4-0 in May. Phoenix Rising’s defense held on the entire match to pick up a clean sheet against the dangerous offense of Reno. It was Phoenix Rising’s first clean sheet in 22 matches, dating back to August of 2016.
Phoenix Rising started out strong with forward Didier Drogba taking a shot in the third minute that went just wide. Reno’s Dane Kelly took the first shot for his club three minutes later, but Josh Cohen was there to make the save.
Things got tense in the ninth minute for Phoenix Rising, as Reno was pressing and Seth Casiple gets the ball inside of the box but chipped it over Cohen and over the bar.
In the 19th minute, Reno was knocking at the door again with a cross into the box, but Drogba was there to make a risky clearance, showing off his defensive skills. Minutes later, Kelly took another shot, but Cohen was there again to make the save.
Phoenix Rising defender Kody Wakasa picked up a yellow in the 34th minute and gave Reno a penalty kick on what looks to be a questionable call as he pulled down Antoine Hoppenot in the box. Kelly stepped up to take the penalty kick, but Cohen guessed correctly, diving to his left to block the penalty kick, and the deflected ball was cleared out by Wakasa.
Cohen made another huge save in the 44th minute after Reno’s Darwin Espinal blasted one from outside the box, but Cohen dove to push the ball off of the crossbar to keep the match scoreless at the half.
Omar Bravo and Eder Arreola come on to start the second half to replace Jason Johnson and Miguel Timm. Phoenix Rising’s defense was tested early in the second half, as Cohen got called for playing a back pass with his hands, setting up a free kick for Reno. Phoenix Rising’s defense held its ground and was able to clear out Reno’s attempted free kick.
Kelly had another opportunity for Reno in the 67th minute with a header, but it was just wide.
In the 75th minute, Drogba had an opportunity for a free kick, but it does not come down in time and goes just over the bar. Bravo had another opportunity in the 84th minute, testing Reno’s Matt Bersano, but the free kick was blocked by the diving keeper.
Late in the game both Phoenix Rising and Reno had opportunities to get on the board, but could not find the back of the net. Arreola had his chance inside the box, but got underneath the ball and put it over the bar. Then Reno’s Brian Brown took a shot from deep in second half stoppage time and gets very close, but it was just over the crossbar.
Things get heated up in the final minutes of stoppage time, and it resulted in Phoenix Rising head coach Patrice Carteron to be sent off and Drogba getting a yellow card. It is unclear on why Carteron was sent off, but he may now miss next week’s match against Orange County.
Phoenix Rising FC remains unbeaten in the last four matches and snaps their drought of 22 matches without a clean sheet. Phoenix Rising currently sits in 9th place in the Western Conference after picking up a point in Reno.
Phoenix Rising heads to California to play Orange County SC on July 8th to finish up their two-game road trip before returning home to play Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on July 15.