Friday, July 19, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Tommy Ramos netted goals in the 23rd and 45th minutes, giving Phoenix FC a two-goal lead at halftime and the club's first two-goal lead since April 28 against Wilmington. But the Richmond Kickers scored twice, including the equalizer in stoppage time of the second half, to earn a 2-2 draw and leave Sun Devil Soccer Stadium with a point on Friday night.
The Wolves were that close to giving the Kickers their first loss of the season, and moving to six points out of USL PRO's final playoff spot. But goals from William Yomby in the 67th minute and Shane Johnson in the 90th forced the draw before 1,097 fans.
Things looked quite promising for the home side after Ramos took a pass from Reid Schmitt in the 23rd minute and managed a shot under pressure from two defenders. The shot got past Richmond goalkeeper Ryan Jones, who was injured on the play and had to leave the match.
Phoenix FC went up 2-0 when Ramos headed in a service from Cameron Vickers, who'd come in as a first-half sub after an injury to starting midfielder Jose Ramos, in the 45th minute.
Ramos scored the winner in the July 11 match against Antigua. He now leads the Wolves in goals in USL PRO games with four.
Phoenix FC is in need of wins over their remaining five matches to give themselves a chance at the playoffs. The club sits at 19 points in the standings with a 4-10-7 record.
The second half was almost all Kickers. They had a goal wiped out for illegal contact with goalkeeper Neal Kitson, who was making his debut for the Wolves after arriving via transfer two days ago.
Kitson was strong in goal for much of the match and was credited with three saves, but the Wolves defense, with clean sheets in five of their previous six matches, struggled to contain the Kickers' attack. Kitson's save total didn't include the numerous times he thwarted chances with his aggressiveness in net.
Starting around the 60th minute, Richmond got more active on offense. Phoenix FC couldn't clear Yomby's goal to make it 2-1, but somehow escaped until stoppage time. A 90th-minute goal was wiped out due to an offside call, and the Wolves needed to hold on for three minutes of extra time to win.
It wasn't to be, as Johnson got a solid touch on a ball in traffic in front of Kitson and sent it past him.
Phoenix FC takes its final road trip of the season July 24 and 27 at Charleston and Charlotte, then returns home for a July 31 match against Harrisburg City in a game moved up due to the Real Madrid-L.A. Galaxy match in the Phoenix area on Aug. 1.