Chris Cortez’s charge at the keeper nearly made the difference in Southern California, but Phoenix Rising FC crashed at Orange County SC for a 1-1 draw.
Cortez’ determination started in the 4th minute. A cross into the left side of the box allowed a chance header for Cortez, but he couldn’t find the ball in time. In the 9th minute, he made a run toward the right side of the box and heel-flicked it to Riggi close to goal. The service was off, Riggi couldn’t quite get a handle on the ball, and it went out of bounds.
A corner kick nearly turned into a goal for Orange County in the 10th minute, but the header went wide. In the 14th, an OCSC run from the left allowed for a quick shot at the box. Phoenix ‘keeper Carl Woszczynski was ready and parried it away.
The deadlock broke in the 18th minute with a sprint from Cortez toward OC ‘keeper Charlie Lyon on a back pass. Miraculously, Cortez got there just in time to kick the ball out from under Lyon’s legs. The ball flew into the goal, putting Rising up 1-0.
Right before the half, the red plague hit Phoenix Rising for the third time in two games. In the 43rd minute a straight red card was given to defender AJ Gray for his slide tackle on defender Juan Pablo Ocegueda. Gray went into the tackle late and hit Ocegueda. Rising ended the first half up a goal and down a man.
In the second half Orange County went on the offensive and relentlessly pressed into the Phoenix Rising half.
In the 59th minute, a heart stopping play occurred when Carl Woszczynski left his line to try and cut off an attack. The keeper didn’t make it time and slipped as he backpedaled back to goal. OC took a shot on goal as the keeper couldn’t make it in time. Luckily, a Rising player headed the ball away from goal.
Next, Rising had a good attempt with a combination play the lead to a Jason Johnson run and a shot on goal. The ball was hit poorly and it missed its mark. Johnson pleaded for a penalty but he was ignored by the official.
Alessandro Riggi came out in the 64th minute, as Kevon Lambert made his debut for Rising. In the 69th minute Eder Arreola went in for forward Jason Johnson as Rising tried to hold on to their lead with another defender.
Sadly,in the 89th minute, Orange County finally broke through with the equalizer from new signing Sola Abolaji.
Phoenix Rising will finally make the journey back home, ending a three-game road tour to face Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday, August 26th.