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Phoenix Rising draws with Lights FC 0-0

Phoenix Rising FC

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Phoenix Rising FC (4-5-4) earned a point on the road in Las Vegas on Saturday night thanks to goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo, who finished the night with 10 saves in a scoreless draw with Lights FC.

Rising and Las Vegas traded chances on opposite sides of the field in the opening ten minutes of the match. Rios Novo made a save on a chance created by Vegas’ Solomon Asante in the 10th minute and answered a save from Lights goalkeeper Nicholas Ammeter on Panos Armenakas in the seventh minute.

The teams exchanged several set-piece opportunities through the middle of the frame until Asante broke loose on Vegas’ left flank, drove towards goal and tested Rios Novo with a hard, curling effort in the 34th minute. Rios Novo was equal to the task, diving low to his left to save the effort for a corner.

Asante remained unmarked on the left at the opening of the second half. He tried to beat Rios Novo low to the far post a second time, but again the goalkeeper was alert and made a diving stop to his left to keep the match level, 0–0.

Rios Novo made another huge save for Rising in the 56th minute, blocking a point-blank header and then recovering by hitting the ball off the goal line.

He made his seventh save of the match from Vegas’ Edison Azcona in the 64th minute, holding his ground and using his body to deflect a hard shot from just outside the six-yard box.

Rios Novo’s ninth save of the night was perhaps his best. The Argentine stepped back and tried to get a fingertip on a hard shot from Vegas substitute Khori Bennett’s blast from just outside the penalty area in the second minute of stoppage time. The dipping shot was pushed just over the crossbar by the goalkeeper and gave Phoenix its fourth shutout of the season.

Rising returns home to take on rival Orange County FC on Saturday, June 8 at 8 p.m.