Phoenix topples T2 in Portland

Rising FC win on the road and move into a tie for 2nd place out West.

On a warm day at Providence Park, 1,536 fans watched Phoenix Rising (12-5-5, 41 pts) outplay Portland Timbers II (10-3-10, 33 pts) from start to finish in a resounding 4-1 victory. Chris Cortez got the scoring started in the 8th minute with a header past Kendall McIntosh off of Alessandro Riggi’s perfect corner kick delivery.¬†Portland tried to respond in the next 20 minutes, but it was Phoenix’s Solomon Asante nearly made it 2-0 with a smashed shot off the crossbar from nearly 30 yards. The visitors enjoyed more possession than in recent matches and Portland only created a few quality opportunities.

T2 tried to respond after halftime and midfielder Marvin Loria created a dangerous chance in the 53nd minute. Yet, it was Phoenix that doubled its lead in the 62nd minute when Devin Vega’s ball came through for Collin Fernandez. Fernandez smashed the ball past everyone and into the net.

The hosts halved the deficit in the 72nd minute. Foster Langsdorf was barreled over by Rising keeper Carl Woszczynski to earn a Timbers penalty. Langsdorf’s penalty shot was saved by the keeper, but Marco Farfan rolled the rebound through Woszczynski’s legs. With 20+ minutes remaining, it seemed to be game on. Portland even brought on budding star Augustine Williams in the 81st minute to find an equalizer.

However, Phoenix would ice the match late thanks to two sublime connections between Asante and Cortez. In the 82nd minute, Asante slid a ball past two defenders, and Cortez fired over McIntosh for his brace. Seven minutes later, the visitors made it 4-1 when Cortez’s pinpoint cross was touched home by Asante. The Timbers had one final chance when Amadou Dia fouled Loria in added time. But, Woszczynski stood tall again to deny Langsdorf from the spot. This shot was smothered by the keeper and the final whistle came moments later.

What it Means: Phoenix Rising moves into a tie with Orange County SC for 2nd place in the Western Conference. Timbers II drops into a tie for 7th place in the West. A pack of hungry teams sits just 2-4 points behind this young T2 squad.

News & Notes: Phoenix hosts OCSC next Saturday night at 7:30 pm PST. It will be a battle for second place. Timbers II travel to Swope Park at 5:30 PST next Saturday in a battle to remain in playoff position.

In his post-match comments, Rising coach Rick Schantz expects Didier Drogba back in “a couple weeks,” and said he will be glad to see Drogba return to training this week.