HISTORY: Drogba, Phoenix Rising win 1st-ever playoff game

Posted at 9:29 PM, Oct 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-20 01:04:32-04

Thanks to their boisterous supporters and a European soccer legend, Phoenix Rising FC's first-ever home playoff game resulted in its first-ever postseason victory.

In what was the only professional soccer game to take place in the United States on Friday, Phoenix Rising won its United Soccer League Western Conference quarterfinal match over Portland Timbers 2, 3-0, in front of 7,511 fans, the largest crowd in franchise history.

Former Chelsea FC star and Phoenix Rising co-owner Didier Drogba supplied the first goal of the game on a free kick in the first half -- a goal that turned out to be all Rising needed Friday night. Jason Johnson scored midway through the second half to seal the deal for Rising, and Solomon Asante added a late third goal for good measure for Phoenix Rising, the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

Rising will now wait to see whether it will host another playoff game next weekend or go on the road. No. 2 seeded Sacramento Republic FC will take on No. 7 seed Swope Park Rangers on Saturday. If Sacramento wins, Phoenix Rising will be on the road; if Swope Park wins, Phoenix Rising will get another home game. Either way, Rising's next matchup will take place Friday or Saturday.

It was an important night for Phoenix Rising on more than one level, as Major League Soccer officials were in attendance Friday night. Phoenix Rising is considered among the favorites to land one of two available expansion MLS franchises.

“That’s the loudest I’ve heard this stadium. Ever," Phoenix Rising goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski said after the game. "It was a great result. We'll see what happens with the other game and move on to next week, back to work."