Phoenix Rising FC closed out their 2017 regular season slate with a thunderous 4-1 victory over visiting Portland Timbers 2 at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex tonight.
Phoenix came into the match with nothing to lose, but could have earned a home date in the first round of the 2017 USL Cup Playoffs had they posted a nine-goal victory, a big ask, even against hard-luck T2. But the match was hardly a disappointment.
Kevon Lambert, Chris Cortez, Matt Watson, and “The King”, Didier Drogba, all got on the board for the Firebirds, winners of 10 of their last 12 matches of the season, and arguably the hottest team in the country.
The hosts went up 2-0 in just the 13th minute, when Cortez’ beautiful volley of an even better Drogba cross followed Lambert’s bombastic strike from some thirty yards.
The only blight on the evening was a case of blown marking in the second half, allowing Portland’s only goal and raising a conversation that head coach Patrice Carteron will want to have with his backline before facing a much more skilled Swope Park side next week.
Phoenix enters the playoffs as the fifth seed in the eight-team, single-elimination Western Conference tournament that begins next weekend. They will travel to Kansas City to face fourth-seeded Swope Park Rangers, last year’s USL Cup Runner Up.
What do you think of the season, and Rising FC’s chances in the playoffs? Leave a comment below!