SCOTTSDALE – Tommy Heinemann scored in second-half injury time, stunning a crowd of 5,532 as the San Francisco Deltas defeated Phoenix Rising FC 2-1 in a third-round U.S. Open Cup match Wednesday night in Scottsdale.
Heinemann, a former Major League Soccer player with Columbus and Vancouver, scored the winner in the fifth minute of added time, and the Rising were only able to counter with Mike Seth’s saved header in the final seconds.
“I can’t say enough about our guys,” said Heinemann, who was playing in the Open Cup for the first time. “I was hoping the ball would squeak through and sure enough, it did. You never know when you’re going to get your chance.”
The Deltas of the North American Soccer League, another U.S. second-division league, advanced to the fourth round to play the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS on June 14.
The U.S. Open Cup tournament decides the club championship of the United States.
The loss was a tough one for Phoenix, which was playing its second match of three in 11 days. Rising trailed 1-0 in the 82nd minute before tying the score a few minutes later.
“We talked about how dangerous they would be if we lose possession and get caught high, and it happened at the worst possible moment,” Rising interim coach Rick Schantz said.
Kyle Bekker’s goal on a free kick gave the Deltas the lead, leaving Phoenix only a few minutes to equalize. When Rising’s Peter Ramage was taken down in the box in the 84th minute, Phoenix got its chance.
Omar Bravo buried the penalty kick to force a tie, but Phoenix could not get the game into extra time.
Bravo, a forward, was Rising’s driving force for much of the night offensively.
“When we get him involved and we get him involved often, he does a good job. He’s such a smart player that … he was able to find a little space,” Schantz said.
Player-owner Didier Drogba is still not playing, but is close to being game ready. The club announced Tuesday that Drogba will make his on-field debut on June 10 in a regular-season home game against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.
Neither team scored in the first half, though both had chances. Phoenix goalkeeper Josh Cohen came up big early, clearing away a shot by the Deltas’ Tyler Gibson in the fourth minute.
Bravo had a goal disallowed just before the halftime whistle when he was called for offside.
Bravo was active near the goal in the first half, as was midfielder Jason Johnson for Phoenix. Shaun Wright-Phillips had a direct shot on goal stopped by San Francisco’s Steward Ceus in the 12th minute.
BICKLEY: Soccer revolution is hitting Phoenix
Ceus went down in the 19th minute when he slammed into a goalpost going for a crossed ball from Johnson. A midair collision involving Phoenix’s Kody Wakasa and Reiner Ferreira of the Deltas in the 29th minute also led to a delay in the action, and five extra minutes were added onto the first-half clock.
Ramage missed his best chance to score when his 35th-minute header went over the goal.
Cohen stopped a low header from Bekker in the 52nd minute. Rising FC had another quality opportunity when in the 67th minute, Eric Avila crossed to Bravo, whose left-footed attempt went wide.
Bravo was a difficult mark all night, and he delivered a fine back-heel pass in the 70th minute toward Johnson, but Johnson could not get off a clean shot.
On the final goal, Andrew Lubahn made a run down the right flank and crossed toward the net. Cohen parried it clear momentarily but Heinemann was there for the rebound.
“It’s disappointing to concede a late goal,” Phoenix’s Miguel Timm said. “They had more of the possession. Fatigue did play a part toward the end but I guess the second goal was very unfortunate.”