Moloto vs. PHX - April 23, 2017
Michael Rincon

Recap: SPR almost mounts remarkable comeback but falls 4-3 to Phoenix Rising FC

The Swope Park Rangers fell to a 4-3 defeat against Phoenix Rising FC, despite mounting an incredible second-half comeback. After finding themselves four goals down by the 47th minute, the Rangers almost fought back to claim a point with two goals from Kevin Oliveira and a strike from Christian Duke in the final 15 minutes. It was the Rangers’ first regular-season defeat since Sept. 3, 2016

Phoenix took the lead in the 22nd minute when Alessandro Riggi cut inside on his right foot and curled a sumptuous finish into the top corner to make the score 1-0.

Three minutes later, the hosts were awarded a penalty kick after David Greczek – making his professional debut in goal for SPR – was controversially adjudged to have fouled Chris Cortez inside the area, when referee Luis Guardia initially signaled for a free kick outside the box before being overruled by his assistant, Alicia Messer. Luke Rooney stepped up to convert for his third goal of the season.

Cortez added a third in the 27th minute when he received a pass from Kody Wakasa and surged toward goal before curling a precise finish into the side netting to put Phoenix up 3-0.

Right before the halftime whistle, Cameron Iwasa was brought down from behind in the Phoenix area but Guardia elected not to award a spot kick. From the ensuing corner, Erik Palmer-Brown flicked a header narrowly over the bar.

Just over a minute into second half, Phoenix extended their lead to 4-0 when Peter Ramage headed in Rooney’s corner at the back post.

Iwasa continued to threaten and in the 55th minute dribbled beyond Ramage and fired narrowly over the bar from a tight angle. Substitutes Kharlton Belmar and Kevin Oliveira then each forced Cohen into action with comfortable as the half wore on.

In the 78th minute, the Rangers’ attempted comeback began when the side won a penalty and saw Phoenix defender Wakasa sent off for a shove from behind on Oliveira who was through on goal. The 20-year-old picked himself up to confidently slot the ball into the corner and cut the deficit to 4-1.

Oliveira continued to drive his team forward and added his second goal of the game in the 90th minute when he received a pass from Colton Storm, squared up his man and unleashed a thunderous drive off the underside of the crossbar to make it 4-2 heading into added time.

The comeback continued in the 93rd minute when Christian Duke hit a delightful dipping volley from 25 yards that looped over Cohen and into the back of the net. However, that was as close as the Rangers would come to snatching a point as the side’s seven-game winning streak came to an end with a 4-3 defeat.

Next Match

  • The Swope Park Rangers will remain on the road next Saturday, April 29 for a matchup with Real Monarchs SLC at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. CT and the match will be streamed live on and in-game updates will be available through the team’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels.

Swope Park Rangers vs. Phoenix Rising FC
April 23, 2017 – Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex (Tempe, Ariz.)
Swope Park Rangers 3, Phoenix Rising FC 4

Scoring Summary:
PHX – Alessandro Riggi 1 (Unassisted) 22’
PHX – Luke Rooney 3 (Penalty Kick) 25’
PHX – Chris Cortez 1 (Kody Wakasa 1) 27’
PHX – Peter Ramage 1 (Luke Rooney 1) 47’
SPR – Kevin Oliveira 1 (Penalty Kick) 79’
SPR – Kevin Oliveira 2 (Colton Storm 1) 90’
SPR – Christian Duke 1 (Unassisted) 93+

Misconduct Summary:
SPR – David Greczek (Yellow Card) 24’
PHX – Kody Wakasa (Red Card) 78’
PHX – Shaun Wright-Phillips (Yellow Card) 95+

Swope Park Rangers: David Greczek; Colton Storm, Erik Palmer-Brown, Amer Didic, Tyler Pasher; James Musa, Christian Duke ©, Felipe Hernandez (Kevin Oliveira 34’); Robert Mirosavic (Kharlton Belmar 34’), Mark Anthony Gonzalez, Cameron Iwasa (Lebo Moloto 63’).

Substitutes Not Used: Darrin MacLeod, Dakota Barnathan, Parker Maher, Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal.

STATS: Shots 19, Shots on Goal 8, Corners 8, Fouls 9, Possession 64%

Phoenix Rising FC: Josh Cohen; Kody Wakasa, Peter Ramage ©, Jordan Stewart, Victor Vasquez; Matt Watson, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Luke Rooney (Blair Gavin 73’), Alessandro Riggi (Matt Hurlow-Paonessa 72’); Omar Bravo (AJ Gray 82’), Chris Cortez.

Substitutes Not Used: Carl Woszczynski, JJ Greer, Jason Johnson, Mike Seth.

STATS: Shots 14, Shots on Goal 5, Corners 2, Fouls 10, Possession 36%

Referee: Luis Guardia
Assistant Referees: Alicia Messer and Anthony Bersano
Fourth Official: Mario Coss
Attendance: 7,162
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 92 degrees