Image: Phoenix Rising FC
Phoenix Rising FC soundly defeated San Antonio FC 4-0 on Wednesday night, capping off a run of three straight away matches, all losses, for SAFC. It was the second time SAFC has ever conceded four or more goals in a USL match, the first time they’ve ever lost by four in league play and the first time they’ve lost three matches in a row.
“We had chances to score early and didn’t take (them), and they punished us for it multiple times,” said SAFC defender Greg Cochrane. “We switched off as a group and we need to be better top-to-bottom.”
Coming off of their first pair of consecutive losses of the season, SAFC had a week off to prepare for Wednesday. A couple of surprising faces found their way back into the starting lineup, both in midfield: Jose Escalante made his first start for SAFC since Juy 4 at home agaisnt Oklahoma City Energy FC, while Sonny Guadarrama started for the first time since the June 6 US Open Cup clash agaisnt FC Dallas.
Both sides had chances in the early stages of the match but it was Phoenix who managed to put one in the net first in the 18th minute. Midfielder Kevon Lambert played the ball across goal where forward Chris Cortez powerfully poked it in past SAFC goalkeeper Diego Restrepo.
While there wasn’t much he could do about the first goal scored on him, Restrepo must take full blame for the second. The SAFC goalkeeper casually played a ball right to Phoenix forward Solomon Asante, who got around Restrepo and fired the ball into the open net to double Phoenix’s lead in the 27th minute.
With three former SAFC players in Phoenix’s high-powered offense, it wasn’t too surprising when two combined to give the hosts a 3-0 lead just before halftime. Forward Jason Johnson played the ball into the heart of the 18-yard box where midfielder Devin Vega, who is also a San Antonio native, volleyed into the top left corner despite the ball bobbling a bit.
Things slowed down in the second half but two former SAFC players linked up again in the 64th minute to add one more goal. Johnson was the provider once more as he slid the ball to the center of the box where forward Billy Forbes smashed it into the top left corner.
The scoreline may flatter both defenses a bit as Restrepo did manage some big saves and SAFC put together some decent attacks which crumbled in the end. The gulf between the sides was difficult to deny though, and the better side came away with all three points.
“We need to have a very short-term memory after tonight,” said SAFC Head Coach Darren Powell. “We have another quick turnaround and…we have to learn from tonight and improve.”
SAFC will have a rare home match during this stretch of the season when they host Swope Park Rangers on Saturday. Swope is the other team to have scored four or more goals against SAFC in USL play after they won 5-2 in Kansas City in 2017.