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USL Championship

Rising falls 2-1 to Indy Eleven


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Phoenix Rising FC (4-5-3) dropped a 2-1 decision to Indy Eleven on Saturday afternoon at IU Michael A. Carroll Soccer Stadium.

It was the second match in four days for Rising, which traveled 3,600 miles from Phoenix to Seattle, then Seattle to Indianapolis, and grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute of the match when Erickson Gallardo earned a corner kick. Renzo Zambrano sent a cross to the back post, where it looked like Indy goalkeeper Hunter Sulte would pluck it out of the air, but the pass drifted beyond his reach. Hernandez was there, on the far side of the six-yard box to nod a header between the near post and a defender to give the visitors an early lead.

Indy fired back in the 26th minute, when Jack Blake was awarded a penalty kick after coming together with Zambrano in the box. Blake stepped up to take the kick, waiting for Rocco Rios Novo to move to his left before smacking a shot high down the center of the goal to bring the score to 1-1.

Rising head coach Danny Stone made two changes at halftime, bringing on Remi Cabral and Fede Varela for the second half after the two started Wednesday’s match in Seattle. Cabral needed 14 minutes to settle into the match before connecting with Zambrano to test Sulte at the near post. Sulte was up to the task, coming off his line to block the shot out for a Phoenix corner kick in the 59th minute.

Indy took a 2-1 lead in the 64th minute after they earned a free kick just outside the box. Blake took the set piece, firing a hard shot directly into the wall of players in front of him. Somehow, the shot found a hole in the wall and passed through clear, zipping past the left shoulder of Rios Novo.

Varela had the best chance for Phoenix to equalize with a headed shot towards the back post in the 89th minute but Sulte reacted well, recovering to make a diving save to his left side to preserve the 2-1 win for Indy.

Phoenix is at Las Vegas for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, June 1.