Phoenix Rising FC returned to its winning ways in a wild 4-3 win over Tulsa Roughnecks FC, with Didier Drogba and Jason Johnson each recording braces in the match. The win also guarantees that Rising FC (15-8-7) will finish no lower than fifth place in 2017.
Roughnecks FC (13-13-4) got off to a fast start in the first half. Joaquin Rivas drew first blood in the 12th minute to make it 1-0. Then his teammate, Juan Pablo Caffa, scored a highlight-reel goal just two minutes later to make it 2-0.
But Drogba wasn’t going to spoil his first start since suffering an injury in August. In the 16th minute, Drogba got on the end of an Amadou Dia cross into the box and headed in a goal to cut the lead in half to 2-1. Three minutes later, in the 19th minute, team-leading scorer Jason Johnson got on the scoresheet for the 11th time this season, blasting a close-range shot past the goalkeeper to equalize, 2-2.
Phoenix Rising FC then got its chance to take the lead in the 24th minute. After Dia drew a penalty in the box, Drogba casually slotted a shot inside the left post to put Rising FC in front 3-2.
Not to be outdone, Tulsa scored just six minutes later in the 30th minutes after a centering pass from Joey Calistri found teammate Christian Thierjung, who equalized to make it 3-3.
The second half lacked the same scoring excitement as the first, but the lone goal was enough to electrify the crowd. Johnson dribbled past four defenders to race toward the endline before beating the goalkeeper between his legs to score his 12th goal of the season, and the game-winning goal.
Phoenix Rising FC returns to the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex on Saturday, October 7, to face off against Rio Grande Valley FC. That match will kickoff at 7:30 p.m.