Phoenix Rising FC got on the front foot right from the first kick of the match, and then just poured it on from there.
An early goal from Chris Cortez, followed by two quick goals in the second half in the first five minutes propelled Phoenix Rising to a 3-1 victory over Sacramento Republic FC in a key opening game of the three-match homestand Saturday in front of 5,693 fans at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in Scottsdale.
Phoenix Rising got on the front foot just 15 seconds into the match. Jason Johnson drove down the left hand side and threw a pass into the middle that missed Shaun Wright-Phillips but found Alessandro Riggi, who took a couple touches and fired a shot just over the bar.
The hard work paid off 10 minutes into the match. On a Phoenix Rising corner, Wright-Phillips whipped a low ball in to middle where Chris Cortez got his head on it and hit it past Sacramento’s Evan Newton for a 1-0 lead.
Cortez and SWP almost hooked up again three minutes later, but Cortez’s went just over the top. Five minutes later, Victor Vasquez got a ball to Cortez, but his header was saved by Newton.
Sacramento finally got its first chance of the match in the 32nd minute, when Emrah Klimenta tried a shot from distance that went just wide of net.
Sacramento’s first shot on goal came in the 41st minute when Wilson Kneeshaw got a weak attempt on net, but Carl Woszczynski made the easy save.
Wright-Phillips almost doubled the lead at the end of the first half when he sent a low-screaming shot through traffic, but Newton dove to his right to make the save to keep the game at 1-0 as the half ended.
The goals came fast and furious to start the second half. Phoenix Rising found the back first in the 48th minute. Johnson got the ball out wide to Cortez, who whipped a cross back to Johnson, who put it past Newton for a 2-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Sacramento answered back. Agustin Cazarez fired a shot that Woszczynski saved, but Trevin Caesar pounced on the rebound and put it in the empty net to cut Phoenix Rising’s lead to 2-1.
But just a minute later, Phoenix Rising built the lead back up to two when Peter Ramage took a cross from Cortez, who put the ball past Newton to give Phoenix Rising the 3-1 lead.
Riggi almost put a fourth home for Phoenix Rising in the 62nd minute. Johnson had the ball on the left who got t to Cortez in the middle, who laid it off for Riggi, whose shot hit Newton right in the chest.
Sacramento had one last chance in the 78th minute when Caesar drove through the Phoenix Rising defense only to have his shot on the short side go wide.
Phoenix Rising continues its homestand next Saturday, Sept. 2, as it takes on Seattle Sounders 2 FC at 7:30 p.m.