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Phoenix Rising FC lose hard-fought opening night

Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 USL champions, the Phoenix Rising FC, lost to the Birmingham Legion FC on Saturday night 1-0.

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It was the opening night for the new season, and the Rising fans came out in full force nearly filling the entire stadium.  Around 8,000 people showed up to show their enthusiastic support.

At the end of the first half, neither side had made a goal.  But the Rising pushed hard by taking more shots on Birmingham’s goal.

During the second half, Phoenix had taken more shots on goal and maintained possession of the ball for the majority of the game. Unfortunately they could not get past Birmingham’s brick wall of a goalie, Matt Van Oekel.

Birmingham’s forward, Diba Nwegbo, scored the only goal in the 66th minute with an accidental assist from Risings midfielder, JP Scearce. The ball hit Scearce and was deflected into the goal.

There were eight minutes of stoppage time that the Rising could have used to score, but Birmingham did not want to give up their lead and would not yield to the Rising’s attempts.

The next game is on March 16, against the at Monterey Bay FC in Cardinale Stadium. The full game schedule and tickets are available through the official Phoenix Rising FC website.

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