Phoenix FC can't hold late lead, settles for draw

BY foxsports • July 20, 2013

TEMPE, Ariz. --  Tommy Ramos scored twice, giving him three goals in the past two matches, to help Phoenix FC earn a 2-2 draw with the Richmond Kickers on Friday night in front of 1,097 fans at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.

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. But Richmond scored twice in the second half, including the equalizer in stoppage time, to head home with a point.

The Wolves were less than 30 minutes away from 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.

Ramos opened the scoring midway through the first half after taking a pass from Reid Schmitt, getting a shot off between two defenders that slipped past Richmond goalkeeper Ryan Jones, who was injured on the play and had to leave the match.

Phoenix FC went up 2-0 in the 45th minute 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.

Ramos also scored the winner in the Phoenix FC's previous match against Antigua and now leads the Wolves in goals in USL Pro games this season with four.

Phoenix FC is in need of wins in all of its remaining five matches to have a shot 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 Phoenix FC defense, with clean sheets in five of the previous six matches, struggled to contain the Richmond attack late. Kitson's save total didn't include the numerous times he thwarted chances with his aggressiveness in net.

Midway through the second half, Yomby scored to make it 2-1, but it appeared that the Wolves might be able to stem the tide as the match entered stoppage time, especially after a 90th-minute goal was wiped out due to an offside call.

It wasn't to be, though, as Johnson got a solid touch on a ball in traffic in front of Kitson and sent it to the back of the net.

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.