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Soccer

Phoenix FC ties at home

Tucsonan Toia scores goal to draw contest; Scottish star Mackie starts match

Soccer commentators talk about getting a “result.” It’s a fancy way of saying the team got a tie instead of losing.

Phoenix FC, which had only managed one point in their last three matches, came back twice but had to settle for a result on Thursday night in their home match with the Charlotte Eagles.

Christian Ramirez opened up the scoring for the visitors five minutes into the match, after finding a hole in the Phoenix defense. Diego Faria had the first sortie for Phoenix with a shot on an open net that went wide. Despite the miss, the attempt meant the team wasn’t going to allow an early goal take them out of the game.

Phoenix continued to press and they earned a free kick, which Scott Morrison took and tied up the score. Sergio Villaseñor, who had at one time played for Mexican club Indios, took a cross from fellow Eagle Drew Yates and beat keeper Andrew Weber to give Charlotte back the lead.

Three minutes later, Donny Toia, who had come up from his position on the left side of the defense, delivered a long arc into the box. Eagles goal keeper Eric Reed appeared to misjudge the oblique shot as a cross. He bobbled it and it fell into the back of the goal. Phoenix went into half time with the game tied.

Both teams had their chances in the second half, including another good shot from Faria, who leads the team with twelve shots. Neither team connected, and the match ended in a 2 – 2 tie.

Phoenix FC just came off a road stretch going back to April and they don’t get to rest at home for their next games. The team has two away matches coming up. They travel to Virginia to take on the Richmond Kickers on the 31st and to North Carolina to take on the Wilmington Hammerheads on June 1st.

Mackie's back in town

The match marked the first time Darren Mackie started this season. The Scottish player was the team’s first signing and the fanfare around him in the preseason signaled that the team counted on him for both goals and ticket sales.

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A preseason groin injury kept him from playing in all but one match. This week, the team let the press know that not only would the leading scorer for Aberdeen FC be playing on Thursday night, but would be starting.

Still, it surprised Coach David Robertson that Mackie was able to play a full match.

“I was only planning on playing him 60 minutes,” Robertson said. “I thought we needed him. I thought he was the guy most likely to score. He got himself in great positions.”

Mackie didn’t get on the stat sheet for goals or assists, but his delivery to Diego Faria in the first half nearly resulted in the team’s first goal. Robertson admits he would have liked to have seen more “defending from the front” from Mackie, but he likes what he saw even if he isn’t at full strength.

“He tired at the end, but was good just to have him back,” said Robertson, a fellow Scotsman and another former Aberdeen player. “He’s come through 90 minutes unscathed.”

Another player who started the match was Andrew Weber. Starting goalkeeper duties according to pregame announcements from the team were supposed to fall to Sheldon Parkinson, who played in last week’s Open Cup match for FC Tucson and covered for Weber when he served a suspension for a red card.

It was what they refer to as a “game-day decision.”

“Sheldon has done fantastic. He did well in the match in Tucson. It’s a real tough choice because we have two very good goal keepers,” Robertson said. “Andrew shaded it just based on his experience. You need as many experienced players out there as you can.”

Although he noted that scoring two goals but not winning a match is a disappointment, especially at home, he still liked the attitude he saw out of his squad.

“If you goal up and you lose a goal and you go a goal up and lose a goal, it’s a tough one to take,” said Robertson. “I think when you go a goal down, you’ve got a good spirit and a tough fight in your team. We came back twice in that game.”

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“It’s a young team and it’s all coming together.”

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Phoenix FC v Charlotte Eagles

ASU Soccer Stadium, Tempe

  • Scoring summary
  • CHA - Christian Ramirez (5')
  • PHX - Scott Morrison (17')
  • CHA - Sergio Villaseñor (35')
  • PHX - Donny Toia (38')
  • Misconduct summary
  • PHX - Devon Grousis (caution, 79')
  • Charlotte Eagles: Eric Reed - Nick Courtney, Matthew Gold, Tyler Newnam, Fejiro Okiomah - Stephen Okai, Sergio Villaseñor (Samuel Asante 61'), Mitchily Waul (Juan Guzman 45'), Drew Yates (William Prado 61') - Christian Ramirez (Jorge Herrera 45'), Stefan Smith (Cuitlahuac Meza 70')
  • Phoenix FC: Andrew Weber - Renan Boufleur, Devon Grousis, Cyprian Hedrick, Netinho, Donny Toia - Diego Faria, Scott Morrison, Anthony Obodai (Isiah Schaffer 73') - Aaron King (Peabo Doue 82'), Darren Mackie

United Soccer Leagues - USL Pro

Standings

Pts GP GF GA
Orlando City   23102610
Charleston Battery   188158
Harrisburg City Islanders   167177
Richmond Kickers   157187
Los Angeles Blues   14111915
Charlotte Eagles   137116
VSI Tampa Bay FC   127117
Dayton Dutch Lions   106911
Phoenix FC Wolves   9101318
Pittsburgh Riverhounds   79712
Wilmington Hammerheads   67715
Rochester Rhinos   48417
Antigua Barracuda FC   7426