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USL Championship

Phoenix Rising earns 1-1 draw with El Paso


EL PASO, Texas — Phoenix Rising FC (5-5-5) earned a point on the road Saturday night at Southwest University Park, coming from behind to draw Locomotive FC 1-1 thanks to a 82nd minute goal by Panos Armenakas.   

Rising went down 1-0 in the 13th minute when Tumi Moshobane worked his way free down the left side and centered a pass inside the six-yard box for Justin Dhillon. The forward redirected a shot on goal with his first touch, but Rocco Rios Novo did very well to block the shot with his chest. Unfortunately for Phoenix, the rebound fell directly to Eric Calvillo, who reacted first to the loose ball and finished off the chance.

Phoenix responded with a chance in the 24th minute when center back John Stenberg got forward and nearly headed home a chance at the back post on a cross from Erickson Gallardo. Stenberg was a step ahead of his marker, redirecting the ball towards goal, but the attempt struck the outside of the post and trickled out for a goal kick.

Just before halftime, Rising nearly pulled level when Renzo Zambrano swung a corner kick to the far post. JP Scearce was there to pound a header on frame. The attempt  looked destined for the back of the net before El Paso defender Noah Dollenmayer recovered to save the ball off the endline with a header of his own.

Gallardo beat El Paso goalkeeper Ramon Pasquel low to the far post in the 68th minute. His shot from the top of the area ricocheted off the bottom of the post and skipped back into play for JC Azocar to strike with his first touch. Unfortunately for Phoenix, Azocar’s attempt caught the outside of his foot and sailed high and wide of the goal.

Armenakas came on in the 67th minute and immediately added a spark for the visitors. He took a simple pass from Fede Varela 35 yards from the goal and sprinted forward. Using a defender to shield the goalkeeper, Armenakas curled a left-footed shot just inside the post to beat Pasquel and made it 1-1 in the 82nd minute.

Locomotive FC nearly pulled ahead with the final kick of the match, but Rios Novo recovered to make a stop on the goal line on a shot by Petar Petrovic to preserve the 1-1 draw.