Two red cards in the span of three minutes on plays that seemed questionable. Six minutes in stoppage time and a referee in Rosendo Mendoza who was inconsistent in his calls all night long.
It all led up to an extra-time header by Ivan Magalhaes that gave Rio Grande Valley a 1-1 draw with Phoenix Rising FC Saturday night at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas. The draw left both teams with 26 points, retaining their 10th and 11 place spots in the Western Conference standings.
Phoenix Rising opened up with an early chance in the sixth minute, when Shaun Wright-Phillips whipped in a corner that found the feet of Blair Gavin, whose shot was parried away by Borja Angoitia. Gavin had a second attempt that was cleared out for a corner.
A.J, Gray had a chance in the 12th minute for Phoenix Rising, but his shot was easily corralled by Angoitia.
Rio Grande had its first chance in the 19th minute when Jose Escalante had a chance on goal but goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski helped clear the danger. Five minutes later, Kevin Garcia got on the end of a cross as he beat Peter Ramage to the ball, but Garcia’s header went well over the bar.
Taylor Hunter was called for a questionable handball in the box in the 40th minute, giving Phoenix Rising a penalty. Jason Johnson stepped by and while Angoitia guessed right, Johnson hit it hard enough to get it past a diving Angoitia for the 1-0 lead.
Rio Grande had the better of the play to start the second half. Kyle Murphy had a go at net in the 56th minute that went over the top. Then in the 66th minute, T.J. Casner had a ball near the six-yard box, but Jordan Stewart came across to make a diving stop at the ball to keep it 1-0 Phoenix Rising.
Rio Grande continued on the front foot in the 75th minute, when Escalante laid a ball off for Jorginho James, and James’ shot was saved by Woszczynski.
Then in the 81st minute, Rio Grande had two more chances. Escalante had a shot from point-blank range that was stopped by Woszczynski, and the Casner had a chance just inside the box, but his shot went way over the bar.
Then the fun began.
Dia fouled Escalante, who fell to the ground, in the 86th minute to draw a second yellow to put Phoenix Rising down to 10 men.
Woszczynski then came up with a great save on a header by Todd Wharton to hold the match at 1-0
Then Doueugui Mala came in hard on a tackle in the 89th minute and drew a straight red card from Mendoza, putting Phoenix Rising down to nine players.
That led to Magalhaes’ goal four minutes into the six minutes of stoppage time. Ramage was unable to mark Magalhaes when he struck his header to Woszczynski’s right, and Woszczynski was unable to get to it in time and the match ended 1-1.
Phoenix Rising returns to action next on Friday, August 18 at Orange County SC. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.