Thursday, July 11, 2013
PHOENIX -- Phoenix FC completed a two-match sweep of Antigua Barracuda FC with Thursday night's thrilling 1-0 win at Grand Canyon University. Tommy Ramos scored what proved to be the winning goal in the third minute of second-half stoppage time to move the Wolves up one place in the USL PRO standings.
Ramos led the break on a counter-attack with the Wolves in need of a goal to keep pace in the race for the playoffs in the USL PRO standings. Only three points would work for Phoenix, as a draw against the last-place team in the league might have dashed the club's postseason hopes in one fell swoop. Donny Toia found Ramos, who saw an open net in front of him with the goalkeeper out and finished the play with his second goal of the season as the crowd celebrated in unison.
Phoenix FC is up to 18 points in the USL PRO standings, six points out of the eighth and final playoff position with four of its final six matches at home.
After last Saturday's 1-0 win, the Wolves have their first winning streak of the season. It wasn't easy, as a game Barracudas side threatened with three quality chances to score in the second half with the match still scoreless. One of those was for forward Eugene Kirwan, whose shot went high of the target in the 59th minute, while Tamorley Thomas also went close with a header after a good cross from Kirwan a few minutes later.
The Wolves tried a new lineup that included Cameron Vickers on the right wing and Darren Mackie back at forward, plus newly arrived goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez, on loan from Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake, in the net after starter Andrew Weber was loaned to Seattle Sounders FC of MLS and Sheldon Parkinson was ruled out with injury. Fernandez, who arrived for one practice session and Thursday's match before he goes back to Real Salt Lake, finished with two saves.
Ramos had an earlier chance to score soon after coming into the match at halftime for Mackie. He hit the post with a shot in the 49th minute, but it was his late finish that proved decisive as he gave his side a vital victory, and denied the Barracudas their first point of the season.
Phoenix remains at home next weekend as they host the Richmond Kickers at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium on Friday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m. PT. For tickets and more information, visit www.phoenixfc.com.