Phoenix Rising FC and Orange County SC played to an entertaining 0-0 draw on Wednesday night in the United Soccer League’s Game of the Week.
In the 4th minute, it was Canadian spark plug Alessandro Riggi getting on the end of a long, switching ball from Shaun Wright-Phillips.
In the 7th, Frank Olijve sent a dangerous cross into the area of Phoenix ‘keeper Josh Cohen, but fortunately for Rising FC there were no Orange County players in position.
Riggi had a go at Charlie Lyon’s net in the 12th, when he was fed by Jason Johnson at the top of the box, but his shot was just high. It was Johnson’s turn a moment later, when the Jamaican’s first shot was blocked, but fell back in his path. Johnson took another step toward goal but fired wide.
Right back Kody Wakasa got into the mix for Phoenix in the 24th when he sent a long cross into the box for Johnson, who soared above his mark but couldn’t turn the ball on net.
Orange County turned up the pressure though, and in the 32nd, Juan Pablo Ocegueda ripped a shot from the top of the box, narrowly missing Cohen’s net.
Five minutes later, the home crowd held its breath as Orange County’s recent acquisition Irvin Parra dribbled into the box. His shot was eventually foiled by a last-minute slide from Rising center back Jordan Stewart.
Phoenix got the second half started right, with a spirited sequence in Lyon’s box. Chris Cortez nearly capped the excitement with a goal in the 48th when he side-footed a loose ball towards net, but Lyon stepped in front of it.
New signing Gladson Awako made his USL debut in the second half, and promptly found himself on the turf, the result of a collision with Orange County midfielder Richard Chaplow.
In the 74th, Rising FC nearly converted on an unusually long bout of possession, when Riggi played a low ball across goal for Johnson, who turned the ball but couldn’t beat Lyon.
Phoenix fans were on their feet with a minute to go in regular time, when AJ Gray’s wide shot was saved by Lyon, only to see attempts from both Awako and Johnson go off the post, sealing the draw.
Phoenix Rising FC travels to Colorado Springs on Saturday, Sept. 9 to face Switchbacks FC. Orange County SC returns to Irvine, Calif. to take on Swope Park Rangers, also on the 9th.