Joey Calistri equalizes on death to save one point for Phoenix Rising

Phoenix Rising FC midfielder Joey Calistri celebrates after his late equalizer against San Diego Loyal SC at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona on June 5, 2021. (Ashley Orellana Photo)

CHANDLER, Arizona – Only in football can a draw feel like a win.

Phoenix Rising FC drew 2-2 at Wild Horse Pass on Saturday night against San Diego Loyal SC when they died in front of a club record of 8,058 fans.

But not all drawings are created equal.

When the fourth official raised the board to add six minutes of stoppage time to the 90, Phoenix was 2-0 behind San Diego.

While the entire team pushed upwards – including goalkeeper Andre Rawls – PRFC managed in the 90 + 1 minute over winger Santi Moar, his sixth in as many games in the USL championship campaign in 2021 and the seventh game in a row in the regular season a goal from last year.

Rising forced six more corners in the final minutes of stoppage time, including a Rawls shot.

But the third was the appeal, with Joey Calistri being prepared for a volley shot by Arturo Rodriguez that was shot into the net in the 90 + 7 minute – reminiscent of his equalizer when he died against New Mexico United in 2019.

“We had to make an adjustment at halftime and I thought that was fantastic. The players reacted very well, they understood the tactics, ”said Rising manager Rick Schantz after the game. “We didn’t score early enough, I thought. We gave up the second goal because of passive defense. And then I think you saw the heart of Phoenix Rising. You refuse to lose here. You will never stop. …

“I learned a valuable lesson today as a coach. You can’t take opponents lightly in this league. You can’t imagine that it will be easy and you have to push the guys from start to finish. “

On paper, Phoenix Rising appeared to have dominated the game after overtaking San Diego by 32-10. However, the key metric here is the number of shots on target that Loyal Rising beat 6-3.

That’s because in all of the PRFC’s attempts at scoring, none of them tested San Diego’s goalkeeper Trey Muse. And when Loyal was on the attack, players like Miguel Berry and Jack Blake took their chances with top placements.

A look at Jack Blake’s goal for #SDLoyal. Top container.

0-2 | #PHXvSD | #RisingAsOne

– Jake Anderson (@ jwa1994) June 6, 2021

“We struggled really hard in the first half. Jack Blake and Corey Hertzog killed us, ”said Schantz. “They came in under their number 9 and this bag, we had problems. Our full-backs didn’t communicate enough. We didn’t intervene closely.

“And they just took us apart in the middle of the field. When we pressed it was fine. But every time they broke the press, we were in big trouble. “

Schantz had a difficult decision to make when he came to the contest on Saturday night.

Not only did he have to choose a replacement for No. 6 Kevon Lambert – who competes with the Jamaican national team internationally – but the head coach also had to find a midfielder to replace the injured Aodhan Quinn, who sustained a hamstring injury in Thursday’s training session.

Schantz picked Jeremy Kelly in 6th place after training as number 10 all week prior to Quinn’s injury. Calistri was the other midfielder to get the go-ahead from the manager.

“If there’s one player on our team who wants to hit a volley, it’s Joey Calistri. … Joey Calistri and Joey Farrell are the heart and soul of this locker room, ”said Schantz. “You will do everything for the team. Calistri stepped on and made it. I am very proud of him too.

“I told the guys in the huddle there that every player is needed at some point and everyone will have a great moment for us. And tonight belonged to Joey Calistri. “


Schantz on Quinn’s injury status: “It’s not that bad, but with Kev gone I couldn’t risk losing Aodhan for six weeks, so I think he should be fine in a few days.”


Phoenix Rising welcomes Pacific Division opponent Tacoma Defiance at Wild Horse Pass next Saturday.

Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm and will be streamed live on and the Arizona Sports app.

Follow @ jwa1994

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