Johnson brace leads Phoenix Rising rally in 2-1 win over Switchbacks FC

Phoenix Rising's DidierDrogba, right, corrals the ball as Jason Johnson looks on during a game against Whitcaps FC 2 on June 11, 201 at the Phoenid Rising Soccer Complex in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photo by Aaron Blau/Firebird Rising
Phoenix Rising’s Didier Drogba, right, corrals the ball as Jason Johnson looks on during a game against Whitcaps FC 2 on June 11, 201 at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photo by Aaron Blau/Firebird Rising

After a difficult away stretch, Phoenix Rising FC returned home looking to end its streak of four straight draws. The Firebirds left it late, but Jason Johnson rescued Phoenix with two late goals put Phoenix back into the win column with a 2-1 win over Colrorado Springs Switchbacks FC in front of 5,605 fans at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex.

Rising Starting XI: GK- Cohen, D- Wakasa, Ramage, Dia, Vasquez, MF- Timm, Gavin, Watson, Avila, F- Bravo, Drogba

Colorado Springs XI: GK- Moise Pouaty, D- Burt, McFarlane, Phillips, Suggs, MF- Argueta, Prugh, Tae-Seong, F- King, Kascher, Frater

Match Recap: The Firebirds started early with a chance from Blair Gavin, but his third-minute shot went over the crossbar. Nine minutes later, Colorado Springs went ahead out of nothing. Josh Phillips sent a long free kick forward, and Kevaughn Frater beat Amadou Dia in the air for the ball before placing his shot into the left corner and past Josh Cohen.

Phoenix Rising did not take long to respond. Didier Drogba appealed for a penalty minutes later, but the ref did not blow the whistle. Colorado Springs continued to look dangerous on the break, and forced Miguel Timm into a yellow card in the 28th minute. The visitors nearly doubled their lead moments later, but Masta Kasher sent a curling effort inches wide of Cohen’s right post.

After the hydration break, Colorado Springs continued to gladly cede possession and attack on the break. Phoenix managed a shot in stoppage time, but Kody Wakasa’s effort was easily stopped by Moise Pouaty and Phoenix Rising went into the break down a goal.

After the break, Jason Johnson replaced Blair Gavin as the rain resumed. Phoenix immediately had an excellent chance when Drogba played an excellent ball in for Matt Watson, but he slipped and could not get a shot on target. In the 48th minute, Sean McFarlane appeared to handle the ball on a cutback from Johnson, but nothing was called. Five minutes later, Jordan Burt forced Cohen into a fine save from distance.

Phoenix probed for an equalizer, but the visitors continued to keep Phoenix at bay. Eric Avila finally provided a moment of magic in the 64th minute when he turned around a defender, but his shot sailed over the crossbar.

Phoenix finally got the equalizer on a scrappy play in the 66th minute. Victor Vasquez played a ball into the box that was deflected, and Pouaty appeared to have the ball. However, the ball slipped out of Pouaty’s hands, and then Johnson slotted the equalizer home.

Avila sent a ball in for the Ivorian legend  moments later, but Pouaty grabbed his headed effort. At the 75th minute, Eder Arreola replaced Miguel Timm and AJ Gray entered for Omar Bravo.

Just when the match looked like it was heading for a draw, Jason Johnson did well to win a corner. On the ensuing corner, Drogba found Johnson inside the six-yard box, and the VCU grad scored his second to put Phoenix ahead.

In the late stages, several players picked up yellow cards for both teams. Yet the Firebirds hung on for a massive 2-1 win.

Up Next: Phoenix travels to Tulsa, Oklahoma to play Tulsa Roughnecks FC in a key match for playoff seeding. Kickoff is set for Saturday, July 22 at 5:30 MT.