Well, it wasn’t a loss.
Phoenix FC has been plagued by many issues this year. Starting slow. Injuries. Inability to finish games strong. Red Cards. A back line that looks incredibly amateur. Young franchise growing pains. On Thursday night, some of these issues would rear their ugly heads once again.
Phoenix drew a very competent and in form Charlotte Eagles 2-2 at the Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. The Eagles were coming off of a recent win against the Battery in league play and a 3-0 win against the Sounders U-23s in US Open play. They’ve been playing with confidence and they strolled into Tempe, Arizona with said confidence. It was only 5 minutes into the game that the Phoenix defense conceded a goal to the Eagles. Birthday boy Scott Morrison equalized again in the 17th minute off of a great free kick. However, the Eagles would take the lead once again in the 35′ off of a Sergio Villsenor goal. Phoenix once again tied the game however, from a Morrison cross to Donny Toia in the 38th. The rest of the game came and went with chances for both sides, but this one ended with that.
It ended as a draw. It ended as only one point earned. That’s two points lost for those keeping score at home.
Phoenix was coming off a week break, after having suffered 3 road losses. Preseason star signing Darren Mackie was finally in the starting XI, and played the full 90. The Eagles had just been in action just 2 nights ago. The Wolves were at home. La Furia Roja was in full voice. A few players had even promised a win following the team’s loss to FC Tucson in the Open Cup. They should’ve played better. This was as much of a must win as any 10th game of a season ever would be.
I’m bothered by this team’s lack of urgency. Both at the beginning of matches, and on the very back-end. They’ve consistently been unable to start or finish games. They put together some incredible play in the middle, and are actually quite skilled at getting goals back they’ve conceded, but a team that consistently plays behind will consistently find themselves behind in the standings. They’ve been incapable of taking points late in games. They held most of the possession and had chances late in this one but couldn’t capitalize. Good teams find ways to win games they have to win. Phoenix has been unable to steal points of any kind.
Phoenix now hits the road for 4 straight games, and the road has not been kind to the Wolves. They’re winless away from SDSS, and they have a lot of ground to make up to even dream of a chance at the last playoff spot. Their next game is next Friday in Richmond and the Kickers have been very good to start the season.
And it’s going to take a team that can play hard for 90 minutes to win that game. Phoenix has yet to prove they can be that team.
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