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Phoenix Rising end regular season with 2-0 defeat in Colorado Springs

© Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Before battling in the USL Playoffs, Phoenix Rising have concluded their regular season by giving up two early goals and falling to the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 2-0 at Weidner Field in Colorado on Oct. 14.

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With the Rising having 48 points and Colorado Springs with 50, if Phoenix won, they would have sealed fifth place in the USL Western Conference by claiming three points and passing the Switchbacks.

Coming off of a 2-1 defeat to New Mexico United at Phoenix Rising FC Stadium on Oct. 7, the valley soccer club were winless in their past four games with a 0-3-1 record.

Prior to that loss, the Rising were eight-matches unbeaten.

As for the Switchbacks, they were red-hot going into the confrontation against Phoenix as in their last six games, they were 4-2-0.

With fifth place up for grabs, both teams clashed and Phoenix’s poor start and quiet offense came back to bite them.

First Half

In the first 30 minutes, the Switchbacks scored two and didn’t look back after.

Out wide, Colorado Springs full-back Duke Lacroix received the ball at the halfway mark on the field and sped past Rising midfielder Emil Cuello all the way towards the Phoenix goal.

After getting past his man, Lacroix took advantage of Phoenix midfielder Carlos Harvey who was standing still and found Switchbacks teammate Juan Tejada open for a tap-in goal past Rising goalkeeper Rocco Ríos Novo.

When the ball went into the net, Harvey claimed it was offsides, but the refs still counted the goal and it was 1-0 Colorado Springs in the 12th minute.

Then, a bounce fell right back to a Switchback player who fired from long-range.

At the 29th minute-mark, Colorado Springs midfielder Jairo Henríquez passed it to winger Jonas Fjeldberg.

Rising defender Mohamed Traore looked like he then intercepted it, but the ball popped back to Henríquez.

From outside of the box, Henríquez looked up towards Rios Novo and slotted it past the goalkeeper for a 2-0 Switchbacks lead.

As the one and only shot-on-target for Phoenix in the game, Cuello was wide-open in the box after a turnover.

Before letting the ball go out-of-bounds, Colorado Springs defender Drew Skundrich gave a perfect pass to Cuello.

Cuello then would fire a powerful shot right at Colorado Springs goalkeeper Christian Herrera and that would be the only save Herrera would have had to make on the night.

Second Half and Postgame Notes

Besides a close chance in the 64th minute by Fjeldberg and a fight in the last 20 seconds of the game, there wasn’t much that went on in the second half.

Only 1-of-12 shot attempts went on-target for the Rising, while the Switchbacks had three on-target from eight tries.

As for possession, Colorado Springs just squeaked out more than Phoenix with 51% of the ball being with them.

With the win, the Switchbacks finished fifth place and will play San Antonio FC on Oct. 15 in the quarterfinals of the USL playoffs.

As for the Rising, they roll into the postseason with a 1-4-2 record in their last seven games.

Phoenix will face the third best team in the Western Conference, the San Diego Loyal, next Saturday at 7 p.m. in San Diego.

Phoenix Rising vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC Preview

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Alec Cipollini is a journalist covering the Arizona Coyotes, Cardinals and Phoenix Rising for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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