RIFC blow 2 goal lead, draw 2-2 versus Memphis 901 FC

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SMITHFIELD, RI— Rhode Island FC (1-9-4, 12 pts.) and Memphis 901 FC (6-3-6, 21 pts.) battled to a 2-2 draw on Wednesday.

The match kicked off at 7:30 p.m. ET at AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tennessee to a crowd of 4,000.

The team started their lineup in a 3-5-2 formation with goalkeeper Koke Vegas starting in the net with a backline of Gabriel Alves (left), Karifa Yao (center) and Frank Nodarse (right). The midfield consisted of Prince Saydee (left) Clay Holstad (left center mid), Marc Ybarra (central), Jack Panayotou (right center mid) and Stephen Turnbull (right). The forward roles were manned by Albert Dikwa (left) and Noah Fuson (right).

Rhode Island had 2 players out due to injury and 2 players out due to international duty. The injured players included Grant Stoneman (Leg), and Amos Shapiro-Thompson (Knee). While Jojea Kwizera and Isaac Angking were away on international duty.

The match began with Memphis starting from the center circle and quickly advancing the ball into the RIFC attacking third.

Memphis had the first moment of the match in the 7th minute when #11 Marlon Santos’ effort went just wide of the post.

Entering the 18th minute, RIFC took the early 1-0 lead.

Following a quick throw-in, the centering-pass was deflected and then collected by JJ Williams. He then flicked the ball quickly to Conor McGlynn for a half-volley shot into the top right corner for the 1-0 advantage.

The next chance of the match came for RIFC in the 25th minute when Mark Doyle’s effort was saved by goalkeeper #1 Tyler Deric.

In the 32nd minute, RIFC forward Mark Doyle was issued a yellow card.

Memphis next clear chance came in the 37th minute when midfielder #4 Emerson Hyndman’s effort went high and wide of the net.

Less than a minute later, Memphis forward #11 Marlon Santos’ effort was deflected away for a corner kick.

Midfielder #4 Emerson Hyndman then had a fantastic effort on the left flank. It was a fantastic effort but it was met with a stellar save by goalkeeper Koke Vegas.

In the 44th minute, Memphis midfielder #10 Bruno Lapa was issued a yellow card.

After the initial 45+3 minutes, the match entered halftime with RIFC ahead 1-0.

The second half began with RIFC quickly advancing the ball into Memphis’ defensive third.

Memphis had the first chance of the second half in the 61st minute when forward #9 Luis Fernando Nascimento’s header was caught calmly by Koke Vegas.

In the 64th minute, RIFC head coach Khano Smith replaced Conor Mcglynn and Mark Doyle with Noah Fuson and Joe Brito. Subsequently, Memphis head coach Stephen Glass made his first two changes by replacing midfielders #77 Dylan Borczak and #6 Zach Duncan with forward #20 Nighte Pickering and midfielder #5 Samuel Careaga.

Entering the 67th minute, RIFC added to their lead.

After a shot by Noah Fuson that trickled under the legs of goalkeeper #1 Tyler Deric, the ball was entering the goal and was met with a slide tackle finish by Joe Brito for the 2-0 lead.

In the 75th minute, RIFC defender Gabriel Alves and Memphis midfielder #5 Samuel Careaga were both issued yellow cards.

Just 6 minutes later, Memphis head coach Stephen Glass made his third, fourth, and fifth change of the match by replacing midfielders #10 Bruno Lapa, #9 Luiz Fernando and #4 Emerson Hyndman with forward #7 Noe Meza, defender #19 Oscar Jiminez, and midfielder #23 Leston Paul.

In the 81st minute, defender #14 Akeem Ward’s header went just wide of the goal.

In the 87th minute, drama ensued for RIFC as goalkeeper Koke Vegas acted as a sweeper keeper and was shown a straight red card for destroying the legs of #20 Nighte Pickering.

Just moments later, RIFC head coach Khano Smith made his final change of the match by replacing Noah Fuson with Jackson Lee.

Entering the 90th minute, Memphis pulled one back.

The ensuing freekick following the red card by midfielder #5 Samu Careaga went over the wall and entered the top right corner to pull one back for Memphis.

Following the goal, Memphis defender #14 Akeem Ward was issued a yellow card. Also following the goal, Memphis head coach Stephen Glass made his final change of the match by replacing forward #20 Nighte Pickering with defender #2 Walid Yacoubou.

In the 90+5 minute, RIFC midfielder Clay Holstad was issued a yellow card.

Entering the 90+9 minute, drama ensued once again for RIFC. Following a delivery into the penalty area, defender Karifa Yao took down defender #8 Lucas Torci and Memphis were ultimately given a penalty kick.

The ensuing PK taken by forward #7 Marlon Santos was buried into the right side of the goal to make it level at 2-2.

As the match entered the 90+11 minute, RIFC defender Khano Smith almost leveled the match, but his effort was saved by goalkeeper #1 Tyler Deric.

After the 90+15 minutes, the match ended level at 2-2.

Rhode Island FC (1-9-4, 12 pts. in USL Championship) are away to Louisville, Kentucky to home to face Eastern Conference side Louisville City FC (10-2-2, 32pts.) at Lynn Family Stadium. The match kicks off on Saturday, June 22nd at 8:00p.m. EST on ESPN+.

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