Riggi makes difference, Phoenix Rising extends unbeaten streak to nine

Alessandro Riggi, right, warms up prior to Phoenix Rising FC's match against LA Galaaxy II Apr. 8, 2017 at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photo by Chad Smith/Firebird Rising
Alessandro Riggi, right, warms up prior to Phoenix Rising FC’s match against LA Galaaxy II Apr. 8, 2017 at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photo by Chad Smith/Firebird Rising

Alessandro Riggi first-half goal made the difference as Phoenix Rising FC stayed strong in the Pacific Northwest with a 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC 2 Wednesday night in Tukwila, Wash.

In the fifth minute, an early left footed shot by Amadou Dia almost put Phoenix Rising on the board. Dia was in a great position at the top of the box and let one fly off his left foot. Seattle goalkeeper Tyler Miller got his fingers on the ball and knocked it out of play.

In the 18th minute, Seattle had a golden opportunity when a cut back ball at the top of 18 found the feet of Harry Shipp. Shipp couldn’t quite hit the ball on the sweet spot and sent it way over the crossbar.

In the 33rd  minute, a professional foul by Victor Vasquez right outside the box earned him a yellow card and stopped a play that would have possibly resulted in a goal for Seattle. Despite the protests of Seattle players, no advantage was given and midfielder Zach Mathers took the free kick. Rising keeper Josh Cohen deflected the shot just enough to guide it toward the crossbar where it bounced back into the field.

A wild play in the 44th minute changed the game for Phoenix Rising. A long ball off a goal kick from keeper Josh Cohen made its way across the field. Chris Cortez was able to get a head on the ball and it found Riggi. Riggi continued his run on goal and took the shot. He found the net and Phoenix Risinf took the 1-0 lead into the halftime break.

In the second half, Vasquez received a second yellow card in the 59th minute on a harsh challenge, yet referee Ekaterina Koroleva did not realize it was his second yellow, which would have sent Vasquez off. Phoenix Rising head coach Patrice Carteron took advantage of Koroleva’s mistake, subbed out Vasquez for forward Jason Johnson three minutes later.

In the 64th minute. Seattle midfielder Jody Delem was booked for the second time and left the game with a red card, reducing Seattle to 10 men for the remainder of the match.

Phoenix Rising almost doubled its lead in the 70th minute. Johnson was able to drive on acounter and got inside the box and fired a shot, but Miller was up to the task in making the save and forcing a Phoenix Rising corner.

Seattle had its best chances in the 90th minute, when Azriel Gonzalez took a shot that just missed the upper 90, and Serge Edoa in the 92nd minute with a shot that was saved by Cohen.

Phoenix Rising continues the Pacific Northwest road trip as the club takes on Vancouver Whitecaps 2 FC Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. in British Columbia, Canada.