Late Greg Hurst winner helps Phoenix Rising win rematch with New Mexico United

Phoenix Rising FC’s Greg Hurst (left) celebrates after scoring an 81st-minute goal against New Mexico United in the 2022 US Open Cup third round. Photo: Eryn Nicholson | Phoenix Rising FC

On a hot night in Chandler, Arizona, Phoenix Rising hosted New Mexico United in the third round of the 2022 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Phoenix would win the match by a score of 2-1. The one-goal victory is the second such victory in five days; the teams having met the previous Saturday in a USL Championship contest.

After an unfortunate deflection in the opening minutes gave Phoenix the lead on an own goal, New Mexico responded in the second half with a 65th-minute equalizer from Nico Brett.

But the hero for the home side would be Greg Hurst who headed the go-ahead goal in the 81st minute. He avenged a 2019 Open Cup encounter between the clubs which saw United win on penalties.

The game started with the home team in control, holding off New Mexico on defense. After not quite two minutes, the referee reportedly had words with Phoenix’s Jason Farrell and New Mexico’s Chris Wehan after a testy exchange.

Just three minutes later, Joseph Calistri of Phoenix sent a ball through the penalty area, which was deflected by William Seymore, who fell between the outstretched arm of GK Ford Parker and the crossbar to put the team local in front. Joseph Calistri and Roderick Epps would spend the first half troubling New Mexico’s back line.

New Mexico couldn’t find second gear for the first 17 minutes. The visitors would continue to gain confidence, forcing Phoenix keeper Ben Lundt into more and more activity. New Mexico captain Sam Hamilton would leave in 31st due to injury. His replacement, Obiarrah Preston Tabortetaka, would have an immediate impact as he entered the Phoenix goal area on his first possession. He, Illia Ilic and Neco Brett would become a thorn in Phoenix’s defense.

Despite the one-sided start, both teams would amass six shots including one on goal in the first half.

The second half began with New Mexico applying pressure from the whistle. Both teams moved the ball well and created good chances. The hero of the second round of overtime for Phoenix, Claudio Repetto, would still find himself in good positions, but ruled offside several times. Roderick Epps would continue to trouble New Mexico with several good chances, but no score to show for it.

In the 65and minute, Harry Swartz, from inside his own half, would send a 45-yard pass to a serial Neco Brett. Bretty coldly split two defenders and slammed it in with her left foot to even the score. It was the culmination of a good moment of possession and creativity for the visitors.

Phoenix Rising FC and New Mexico United players battle for the ball during the third round of the 2022 US Open Cup. Photo: Eryn Nicholson |  Phoenix Rising FC
Phoenix Rising FC and New Mexico United players battle for the ball during the third round of the 2022 US Open Cup. Photo: Eryn Nicholson | Phoenix Rising FC

The two teams again exchanged opportunities and possession for several minutes. Finally, in the 81st minute, a team goal would start with a goal kick. The 8-pass streak that involved 7 players, culminating in a header from Greg Hurst, a header from Santi Moar to put the Rising ahead for good. New Mexico GK Ben Lundt seemed to think the shot was going wide and was frozen in place as the ball slid smoothly inside the post. It was Hurst’s second game-winning goal against New Mexico in as many games.

The Phoenix Rising qualify for the Round of 16, the draw for which will take place on April 21st at noon ET.

Both teams kept pushing for another goal, but there was none left.

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