Phoenix Rising FC closed out their preseason with a 1-1 draw against Grand Canyon University at GCU Soccer Stadium.
“Fitness levels are just about there,” said Phoenix Rising FC defender Peter Ramage. “We are still doing a lot of work on team shape and tactical play, which will come together. … We are confident going into the first game. We’ve had a good preseason. Good games, tough games. So we are just about ready.”
Added midfielder Luke Rooney: “I think if you come watch our training sessions, if you look individually at the squad of players we have, we are going to be a good side this year. … That is the main thing, just getting the team to gel. If we do that we will be fine this year.”
The club’s lone goal came off a corner in the 39th minute. Mifielder Luke Rooney smacked his corner kick long, bypassing the mass of players in the middle of the box. Ramage found some space off the back of the crowd of players and he headed the ball underneath the crossbar as he fell away.
“Yeah it’s always nice to get a goal,” Ramage said. “I’ve set myself a target for the season to try and contribute more in that end of the pitch and luckily for me it was me to get the goal tonight.”
The starters played for just over an hour before head coach Frank Yallop took them out to protect them from possible injury. One starter, Jordan Stewart, had to come off midway through the first half as a precaution.
“We practiced a lot of 11v11 with (the starters) and it showed tonight when we started to get the same combinations that we worked on in training,” Yallop said. “The finishing wasn’t quite there, but at the end of the day its a preseason game with nothing at stake and we’ll be ready to go for the beginning of the season.”
Phoenix Rising FC will kick off league play at 7:30 pm on Saturday, March 25, against Toronto FC II. The match will be the club’s inaugural home opener at the Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex, located near the intersection of the 101 and 202 highways, north of the 202 loop and east of McClintock Drive in South Scottsdale. Fans can purchase tickets to the home opener and other individual matches and select their seats online by going to the club’s website at www.PHXRisingFC.com.