Saturday, March 30, 2013
PHOENIX -- Arizona’s newest sports franchise, the Phoenix FC Wolves, celebrated its first ever home game at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. with a 1-0 win over VSI Tampa Bay FC on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 4,198. Netinho scored the only goal of the game, and the first in club history, while Andrew Weber recorded six saves to record the Wolves’ first shutout.
Phoenix opened the game sharply, with Diego Faria forcing the first opportunity in the fifth minute, drawing a save from VSI’s Alex Horwath. Ten minutes later, though, there was nothing Tampa Bay’s goalkeeper could do as a fine curling effort from 22 yards by Netinho gave the Wolves the lead, and their first goal in club history.
The Wolves continued to push forward, and Horwath had to be sharp to turn a header by Aaron King over the crossbar after a good cross by Donny Toia from the left. Tampa Bay gradually came into the game, and Phoenix goalkeeper twice had to make good saves to deny Shawn Chin and Andriy Budnyy before the halftime break.
Phoenix almost took a two-goal lead early in the second half, Diego Faria’s goal being ruled out for offside after Aaron King’s header had rebounded off the left post. Tampa Bay then went close as Weber turned away a looping shot from 20 yards in the 55th minute, and both Cyprian Hedrick and Devon Grousis had to make important interceptions as VSI continued to push for an equalizer later in the half.
The Wolves had to withstand some late pressure in stoppage time, as they cleared a Tampa Bay corner kick and a free kick in the final seconds before the final whistle blew, sending the capacity crowd home happy.
Phoenix FC returns to action next Sunday, April 7th at 7:30 p.m. PT against Orlando City. VSI Tampa Bay FC continues its west-coast trip with a visit to the Los Angeles Blues on Tuesday evening at 4 p.m. PT.