The best part about following local sports is that there’s always next time. The next night, the next week, the next game. It all brings new hope, and several Arizona teams rode that hope back to the win column this past week. Let’s check it out, in this week’s edition of the Arizona Sports Weekly Wrap.
Phoenix Rising FC defeated visiting Swope Park Rangers 4-2 on Friday night at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in the United Soccer League Western Conference Semifinals. The Firebirds went up 1-0 via Jason Johnson before slipping behind 2-1. Chris Cortez and Kevon Lambert put Rising back in the lead before, who else, Didier Drogba struck for a celebratory fourth goal in second-half stoppage time before a club record crowd of 7,707.
Rising FC travels to Irvine, Calif. this Saturday to face Orange County SC in the Western Conference Final. The club is providing a free fan bus to the match.
The Arizona Cardinals held on to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 18-15 on Sunday. The win was the Cardinals’ second of the season over San Francisco, and second overall. With both teams entering Sunday on 1-6 records, the game was not highly anticipated among NFL fans, but rookie quarterback Josh Rosen and legendary receiver Larry Fitzgerald had the last laugh with a late comeback drive.
The ASU Sun Devils made things interesting, but eventually put away USC at the Coliseum on Saturday with a 38-35 win. It was the first road win of the season for ASU (4-4, 2-3 PAC-12). Star running back Eno Benjamin put up another 185 yards rushing, and future first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry added a piece of Sun Devil lore to his 92-yard punt return for touchdown and 95 receiving yards when he made the catch of the year.
ASU didn’t gain any ground on rival University of Arizona on Saturday, because the Wildcats put up a statement win on Homecoming, defeating No. 19 Oregon by a score of 44-15. Fueled by 212 rushing yards from J.J. Taylor and three touchdowns from Khalil Tate, back from injury, Arizona (4-5, 3-3 PAC-12) went ahead early at Arizona Stadium, and never looked back.
Back home after a disappointing day in Colorado last weekend, the NAU Lumberjacks suffered another setback, losing 38-28 to Cal Poly. The ‘Jacks struck first on a Joe Logan rushing touchdown, but it was all Poly after that. Behind redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Porter, NAU (3-5, 2-3 Big Sky) launched a furious second-half comeback, scoring 21 unanswered, but ultimately fell short. Logan, Porter, and true freshman Jacob Mpungi all had at least 98 yards rushing.
The Arizona Coyotes have been on a tear of late, ending their road swing with a 4-1 win at Columbus before returning home to Gila River Arena, and beating Vancouver 4-1 and Tampa Bay 7-1. After a 2-5 start, the ‘Yotes now sit at a respectable 5-5, four points back of first place in the Western Conference Pacific Division.
The Phoenix Suns are on a five-game skid dating back to October 20, dropping 20+ point results in each except the most recent, a 117-110 loss at Oklahoma City. Don’t panic, though. Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and an improving supporting cast have put up plenty of promising numbers. There’s a long season to go!
Check back next week for all the updates, and keep playing!