Rising Defense Smothers Orange County in 1-0 Win
PHOENIX, Arizona - Rufat Dadashov scored his 11th goal and Rising's defense limited its opponents to just three shots on goal as Rising secured a playoff spot via a 1-0 win vs. Orange County tonight at Casino Arizona Field.
Zac Lubin was forced to make a save in just the second minute of the match, when Orange County's Nathan Smith got the ball to Darwin Jones near midfield, right on the touch line. Jones darted down the right flank and got a hard shot off from just outside the area. Fortunately for Rising, Lubin was alert. The goalkeeper came off his line to cut down the striker's angle and blocked the shot with his chest, sending the attempt out of Phoenix's defensive third of the pitch.
Jones looked to be leading another counterattack for Orange County in the 17th minute after switching from the right flank to the left. The forward skipped by one defender but put his next touch too far out in front and Rising's newest signing, center back Damion Lowe made him pay. Lowe slid in and cleared the ball away from danger with a resounding tackle.
Lowe won a ball back and ignited a quick counter in the 26th minute. The interception and pass forward went to Solomon Asante and last year's MVP unleashed a hard shot towards the front post. Orange County goalkeeper Frederick Due made himself as large as possible and punched away the chance to keep the match level, 0-0.
Rising took a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute when a free kick from near midfield was lobbed into the box. Dadashov won the header at the back post, redirecting a shot on goal. Due blocked the initial attempt and a follow-up but Dadashov put away the third rebound attempt from very close range to make it, 1-0.
Seconds later, Rising nearly had a two-goal lead, but Due got his fingertips to a chip shot from inside the box by Jose Aguinaga. Dadashov set up the attempt after Asante played a cross into the area from the right side.
Lowe was just as sharp in the second half, taking a great scoring opportunity off the foot of Orange County striker Sean Okoli in the 62nd minute. That was as close as the visitors would get to pulling level with Phoenix as the match was well managed and salted away defensively by Lowe, Lubin, Kevon Lambert, Joey Farrell, Darnell King and Corey Whelan.
Rising returns to action next Wednesday, September 30, when the team travels to San Diego to take on Loyal SC. Kickoff for that match has been rescheduled to 7 p.m.
PHX - Rufat Dadashov 37
Phoenix - Eric Dick, Darnell King, Joey Farrell, Damion Lowe, Corey Whelan, Jose Aguinaga (Sam Stanton 76), Kevon Lambert, Jon Bakero (Jordan Schweitzer 76), Junior Flemmings (Joey Calistri 88), Rufat Dadashov, Solomon Asante (Santi Moar 88).
Substitutes not used: Eric Dick, Jack Barmby, Santi Moar, AJ Cochran, Jordan Schweitzer, Sam Stanton, Joey Calistri.
Orange County SC - Frederick Due, Kevin Alston, Darwin Jones, Brian Iloski (Cammy Palmer 76), Daneil Crisostomo (Chandler Hoffman 85), Seth Casiple (Kevin Coleman 66), Aodhan Quinn, Nathan Smith, Rob Kiernan, Sean Okoli (Ronald Cerritos 77), Michael Orozco.
Substitutes not used: Aaron Cervantes, Francis Jacobs.
PHX - Kevon Lambert (caution) 45+2
PHX - Junior Flemmings (caution) 60
OC - Kevon Alston (caution) 83
PHX - Rufat Dadashov (caution) 84
OC - Aodhan Quinn (caution) 89
REF: Isaiah Vlad
AR1: Nicholas Gastelum
AR2: Kevin Sanchez
4TH: Alan Rios
Weather: Clear, 93
Images from this story
Phoenix Rising FC forward Junior Flemmings
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