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Phoenix FC

Wolves give up mo' against Orlando

Faria opens up scoring but Lions roar back

Orlando City SC were last year's regular season leaders in USL-Pro, but upstarts Phoenix FC had the upper hand on them with an early goal. Still, the Wolves let up on the pressure enabling Orlando's Lions to roar back and end Sunday night's match in Tempe 3-1.

It didn't take long for Phoenix to make their first threats toward Orlando keeper Jon Kempin. Renan Boufleur and Aaron King both broke past the defense in the early minutes in the game before their attacks were stymied. Phoenix kept the pressure up top and in the 16th minute, King dished the ball to former Santos FC midfielder Diego Faria, who found the back of the net and gave Phoenix the lead.

Orlando crawled back in the 34th minute. One-time Ventura County Fusion forward Dominic Dwyer made the most of one of the few chances his team was allowed in the first half and evened up the score. Despite a last minute shot from Phoenix's Anthony Obodai (it went inches over the crossbar), the half ended with the two teams level.

Official stats recorded Dwyer's strike as Orlando's single shot in the first half. Unfortunately for Phoenix, they were not able to shut down their opponents nearly as effectively in the second half.

Orlando started to be given too much space early, with a chance given when defender Bryan Burke was left alone to bring the ball up the field. His delivery into the box didn't result in a goal, but it quickly became obvious that this was going to be a different game.

Much-hyped Phoenix FC signing Darren Mackie subbed in just after the hour mark, along with Orlando's Long Tan. Former Aberdeen FC striker Mackie was finally going to get his first minutes on the field.

The crowd loved to see Mackie, but it was the sub on the other side that made the immediate impact. Tan took a pass from Kevin Molino and split Phoenix's defense and scored only a minute after he came on.

Mackie's first touch came only a few minutes after the restart. Orlando immediately double teamed him, allowing Mackie to draw a foul just outside of the penalty area. The free kick led to a corner kick. Unfortunately for Phoenix, the team was unable to convert either chance.

Orlando polished off the match in the final minutes with another Molino-Tan combination. In a reverse from the earlier credit, Molino scored with a Tan assist.

'I think we can be number one'

The match gave Phoenix FC a record of one win and two losses in the team's still new debut season, but defender Donny Toia is confident.

"I think we can compete with any team in this league," said the former FC Tucson player. "I think we can be number one in the league for that matter."

The braggodoccio isn't entirely misplaced. After this weekend's results, Phoenix FC is at the top of the USL-Pro standings, tied on points at number one. Of course, they also have played more games than any other team yet and several teams haven't even played yet.

"We had a lot of pressure in the beginning of the game, which is great," Toia said of the match. "There are times we can't just keep doing that. We wore out a little bit towards the end of the second half."

"We're in shape; we've been working hard every training session," responded Toia to a reporter's question on whether match fitness affected the team. "Orlando has been together for how many years? We're a new franchise."

On loan

This year is the debut of a new affiliation agreement between Major League Soccer and USL-Pro. The arrangement makes it more attractive for MLS teams to loan players to a lower division partner and recall them when ever they need them. Sporting Kansas City has such a deal with Orlando City FC. SKC sent Dom Dwyer, Christian Duke, Yann Songo'o and goalkeeper Jon Kempin to Florida this season. It paid off for Orlando on Sunday night when Dwyer opened the scoring for them.

"I think it's awesome. All the guys really love it," said Kempin after the match. With Kansas City, Kempin is an understudy for one of the top goalkeepers in MLS, Jimmy Nielsen. It is hard for him to get minutes, but he played a full 90-minute game on Sunday and looks to be the first choice keeper going forward.

Not only are the the four loanees familiar to Kempin from Kansas City, but Cyprian Hedrick played for SKC until he was cut last year and Travis Bowen had trained with the team.

"It's good to see him," he said of Hedrick.

Thanks to our donors and sponsors for their support of local independent reporting. Join Laurel Cooper, Diane C Taylor, and Gregg Garfin and contribute today!

Coming up

Orlando travels to Los Angeles to face the Blues on Wednesday night, while Phoenix FC will face those same Blues at home on the 14th.

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Garrett Cleverly/AzKicksIt.com

Phoenix FC's Aaron King pressures Orlando City's Jon Kempin.

Phoenix FC v Orlando City SC

Sun Devil Soccer Stadium, Tempe

  • Scoring summary:
  • PHX: Diego Faria (16')
  • ORL: Dominic Dwyer (34')
  • ORL: Long Tan (62')
  • ORL: Kevin Molino (87')
  • Misconduct summary:
  • PHX: Andrew Webber (caution, 7')
  • PHX: Cyprian Hedrick (caution, 18')
  • PHX: Renan Boufleur (caution, 55')
  • Orlando City SC: Jon Kempin - Yann Songo'o, Bryan Burke, Luke Boden, Rob Valentino - Adama Mbengue (Long Tan, 61'), Christian Duke, James O'Connor (Freddie Braun, 67'), Kevin Molino - Dominic Dwyer (Dennis Chin, 81'), Jamie Watson (Ian Fuller, 89')
  • Phoenix FC: Andrew Weber - Scott Morrison, Devon Grousis, Renan Boufleur, Cyprian Hedrick, Donny Toia - Anthony Obodai, Netinho, Diego Faria, Peabo Doue (Travis Bowen, 57') - Aaron King (Darren Mackie, 61')