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Rising falls 3-1 to Riverhounds


PHOENIX — Phoenix Rising FC fell to 2-4-1 on the season after a 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday night in front of 6,759 fans at Phoenix Rising Stadium.

Similar to last match, Gabi Torres and Dariusz Formella worked the ball down Phoenix’s left flank in the opening five minutes tonight. Torres came free and curled a pass onto the foot of Fede Varela, but Rising’s No. 10 was unable to keep his volley under the crossbar and the match remained tied, 0-0.

Torres sent in a second dangerous cross in the 17th minute. This one floated to the back post where Pape Mar Boye leapt above the pack to direct a header on goal, but former Rising goalkeeper Eric Dick was there to make the save in the center of the goal.

Varela got the ball to Remi Cabral in a dangerous area and the forward nearly picked out the far side netting in the 20th minute, but once again Dick was in position and made a diving save to his right side.

Six minutes later, Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead when Edward Kizza set up Kazaiah Sterling with a backheel pass. Sterling arrived a second earlier then Phoenix defender John Stenberg and hit a hard shot that managed to avoid a slide tackle from the Rising captain. The line drive shot from close range gave goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo no time to react and the visitors were on the board first.

But not last. Rising took offense to the goal by Pittsburgh and scored two minutes later when a pass from Pape Mar Boye gutted the Pittsburgh defense. Cabral latched onto the pass, turned his defender and finished low into the corner to make it 1-1.

Phoenix gave up a penalty kick to start the second half after Mar Boye was whistled for a handball in the box, but Rios Novo forced Sterling to sail the attempt high and wide.

Rising peppered the Pittsburgh goal for the next 15 minutes, getting shots from Laurence Wyke, Jose Andres Hernandez and Erickson Gallardo by the 56th minute. Hernandez’s was the best of the three as it forced a deflection from Dick but the ball just wouldn’t cross the line, hitting the post to the goalkeeper’s left side.

Then the Riverhounds took a 2-1 lead in the 62nd minute when Junior Etou set up Edward Kizza. The forward took his chance scoring from very close range to give Pittsburgh its second lead of the evening.

Rising earned a corner kick in the 78th minute and Mar Boye was once again the target, outjumping his marker at the back post and drilling a textbook header down into the ground. Unfortunately for Phoenix the ball ricocheted back up and bounced over the crossbar.

Babacar Diene tacked on an insurance goal for Pittsburgh in the 90th minute to make it a 3-1 final.