Rising Advances to USL Championship Final with 4-2 Win in Penalties
PHOENIX, Arizona - Phoenix Rising advanced to the USL Championship Final via a 4-2 victory in penalty kicks, following a 1-1 draw against El Paso Locomotive FC tonight at Casino Arizona Field.
Jordan Schweitzer scored the lone goal for Rising in the first half after starting his first playoff game. El Paso tied the match in the second half, but Phoenix goalkeeper Zac Lubin made a diving save to his right side on Locomotive FC's Nick Ross in the second round on penalty kicks. El Paso's Josue Aaron Gomez missed wide to the left in the fourth round to make the final, 4-2, as Rising's Jon Bakero, Corey Whelan, Joey Farrell and Santi Moar scored on all four shots Phoenix attempted.
Rising will now travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Rowdies in the league final on Sunday, November 1.
The match started as it would end as Lubin stood very tall for Rising in the 15th minute of the match, when El Paso combined to set up Louis Herrera with an outstanding chance, one-one-one with the goalkeeper. Lubin read the play perfectly and was on Herrera as soon as he received the pass. The goalkeeper sprawled out and got enough of the shot to deflect it down before smothering the loose ball.
Santi Moar made a run down the left flank, cut inside, and got the ball to Jordan Schweitzer, who was making his first start of the postseason. The midfielder immediately recognized he was in space and quickly leaned into a shot 25-yards from goal. The low strike took an epic deflection off an El Paso defender, shot up and over the head of El Paso goalkeeper Logan Ketterer and spinning backwards, caught the underside of the crossbar and settled into the back of the net to give Rising a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
Just before halftime, Phoenix nearly took a two-goal lead when a corner kick played into the area was won in the center of the box by Kevon Lambert. The midfielder's powerful header had Ketterer beat but the shot rattled off the woodwork behind the goalkeeper and the match went into halftime, 1-0.
Lubin stood tall again to begin the second half as a half-blocked shot caromed towards goal in the 55th minute. With no time to react, Lubin threw his whole body at the ball and managed to knock it up and over the crossbar to preserve the one-goal lead.
El Paso leveled the match in the 59th minute, when a square ball played across the top of the box created confusion between a pair of Rising defenders. The loose ball sat up perfectly for late-arriving Bryam Rebellon to rip a shot hard to the back post. Lubin was screened by a wall of defenders and was helpless to try and keep the point-blank shot out of the back of the net.
Sam Stanton earned Rising earned a free kick in a dangerous area in the 63rd minute. Solomon Asante stepped up the try and curl a shot over the wall of defenders but the shot was too low and was deflected away from danger.
Lubin stopped another sure goal in the 77th minute when El Paso's Richie Ryan came free at the back post. Ryan walked towards goal and set up a chance for Josue Aaron Gomez, but once again, Lubin read the play and took the ball off the foot of the attacker to keep the match tied, 1-1.
Rising started the first overtime period on the front foot. Asante forced a save out of Ketterer, low and to the goalkeeper's left side, just five minutes into overtime. Moar earned a free kick a few seconds later on Rising's left flank and the ensuing scramble nearly produced a goal by defender Joey Farrell.
Phoenix closed out the overtime session with a header from Rufat Dadashov floating just inches over the crossbar on a cross played in by Moar.
Asante was denied by Ketterer in the 111th minute with a save, low to the goalkeeper's left side. Moments later Dadashov finished off a chance in the 115th minute, but the assistant referee ruled the forward was in an offsides position and the goal was overturned.
PHX - Jordan Schweitzer (Santi Moar) 18
EP - Bryam Rebellon (Leandro Carrijo) 59
Phoenix - Zac Lubin, Darnell King, Joey Farrell, Damion Lowe, Corey Whelan, Sam Stanton (Joey Calistri 105), Kevon Lambert, Jordan Schweitzer (Jon Bakero 69), Santi Moar, Rufat Dadashov, Solomon Asante.
Substitutes not used: Eric Dick, Lagos Kunga, Jon Bakero, AJ Cochran, Owusu-Ansah Kontoh, Jose Aguinaga.
El Paso Locomotive - Logan Ketterer, Macauley King (Guillermo Diaz 98), Louis Herrera (Nick Ross), Mechack Jerome, Borelli Cap, Richie Ryan, Dylan Mares, Yuma Monsalvez, Aaron Gómez, Carrijo Silva, Bryam Rebellion.
Substitutes not used: Moses Makinde, Jermaine Fordoh, Andrew Fox, Saeed Robinson, Matt Bahner.
EP - Yuma Monsalvez (caution) 4
EP - Macauley King (caution) 54
PHX - Joey Fasrrell (caution) 95
EP - Guillermo Diaz (caution) 106
PHX - Solomon Asante (caution) 109
EP - Leanardo Carrijo (caution) 111
PHX - Damion Lowe (caution) 113
REF: Elton Garcia
AR1: Diego Blas
AR2: Walt Heatherly
4TH: Matt Thompson
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 79
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United Soccer League Championship Stories from October 25, 2020
- Tampa Bay Rowdies to Host Phoenix Rising FC in USL Championship Final - USL
- Rowdies Advance to Championship Finals, Tickets on Sale Monday - Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Rising Advances to USL Championship Final with 4-2 Win in Penalties - Phoenix Rising FC
- El Paso Locomotive FC Falls to Phoenix Rising FC in the Western Conference Final Behind 4-2 Penalty Shootout - El Paso Locomotive FC
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