The game was slow to develop, but Phoenix Rising FC found a way in the end for three critical points to put Phoenix Rising into the Western Conference playoff race.
Amadou Dia’s goal in the 78th minute proved to be enough, and Jason Johnson added an insurance goal as Phoenix Rising defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2 2-0 Saturday in front of 6,150 at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in Phoenix.
The win puts Phoenix Rising into the eighth and final playoff spot with 33 points, ahead on goal differential over Oklahoma Energy FC.
The teams play a relatively quite first half with very few chances between the teams.
Phoenix Rising’s best chances in the first half came in the 16th minute, when Chris Cortez had a chance right at the edge of the six-yard box but missed on the short side, and a chance in the 25th minute when Cortez got on the end of a Victor Vasquez cross, but his header was saved by Tyler Miller.
Seattle’s first half chances came from Aaron Kovar in the 20th minute, whose shot went over the bar, and Kovar again in the 35th minute, which was saved by Josh Cohen.
Phoenix Rising opened the second half with a solid chance in the 50th minute. Shaun Wright-Phillips’ corner found the head of Cortez, but he couldn’t recreate last week’s magic as his header was saved by Miller.
Seattle had its first chance of the second half in the 62nd minute, when substitute Seth Adekoya fired a shot just wide.
But Seattle’s best chance came in the 73rd minute, when a Seattle shot pinballed around the box and found the feet of Zach Mathers, who had an open net but hit the crossbar with his shot.
But the winner came in the 78th minute, when substitute A.J. Gray got into the box and hit a cross off a Seattle defender and found Dia, who headed it past Miller for the 1-0 lead.
Cohen had to come up big in stoppage time as Seattle’s Ray Saari hit a screamer headed for the upper 90, but Cohen was up to the task with a big save.
Johnson sealed the win for Phoenix in the final minute of stoppage time when he stripped Miller of the ball, and drove the ball home into the open net for the 2-0 lead.
Phoenix Rising concludes its three-match homestand Wednesday night when it faces Orange County SC. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.