The club gathers for a pre-game huddle ahead of its match with Real Monarchs SLC on June 24, 2017. (Michael Rincon/PHXRisingFC.com)
PHOENIX (July 7, 2017) – Phoenix Rising FC wrap up a two-match road trip this Saturday, July 8, at Orange County SC. The match kicks off at 5 p.m. and this will be the first time both clubs face each other this season.
Fans can watch the match one of three ways. They can head to the club’s official watch party at the Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill in Tempe Marketplace (2000 East Rio Salado Parkway #1041, Tempe, AZ 85281); they can watch the match live locally on YurView Arizona Cox Channels 4 & 1004 (HD) in Phoenix (7 & 1007 in Tucson); or they can watch online at PHXRisingFC.com.
Rising FC remain unbeaten under the guidance of head coach Patrice Carteron after its first clean sheet of the season in a 0-0 draw against Reno 1868 FC last Friday, June 30. In the club’s four matches under Carteron, Rising FC has gone 1-0-3.
Orange County, who have played just ten league games so far, will enter the match four points behind Phoenix in the USL’s Western Conference standings, and six points out of the playoff picture. Orange County slipped down the standings during May, thanks to a three-game losing streak where they were outscored 6-0 by their opponents.
But the team has rediscovered its attack in its last two games, a 4-3 win over Seattle Sounders 2 and a 3-3 draw against Portland Timbers 2. Head coach Logan Pause switched to a 4-4-1-1 set up for their match against Seattle, moving winger Jerry van Ewjik into a central attacking role, and recalling midfielder Amirgy Pineda into the middle of the pitch.
Ewjik and Pineda will miss out on Saturday night’s match, however, as they both begin lengthy suspensions after getting involved in a scuffle in last week’s draw with Portland. Ewjik will miss five games for Orange County, while Saturday will be the first of a six-game suspension for Pineda.
Orange County will look to defender Roy Meeus and midfielders Carlos Alvarez and Gustavo Villalobos to fill the offensive shoes left by the suspended duo; each of the three have scored two goals during Orange County’s last two games.
In net, Orange County goalkeeper Charlie Lyon has played every minute of every USL game for the Southern California club this year, collecting two clean sheets and a 65.4 save percentage.
Josh Cohen will stand opposite of Lyon’s goal on Saturday, riding high after securing his first shutout of the campaign against Reno. Cohen, whose 36 saves is good for ninth most in the league, put in a heroic effort to keep the high-octane Reno attack off the board last Friday; the Rising keeper, who played for Orange County during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, saved a penalty kick in the 35th minute before coming up with a miraculous diving finger-tip stop minutes later. The diving stop was awarded as the USL Save of the Week.
Phoenix Rising FC can make club history on Saturday with a win or draw, as the team has never achieved a five-game unbeaten streak in USL play. Carteron can also put his name in the records books on Saturday; with a draw at Orange County Great Park, the Rising FC manager can equal Michael Dellurusso’s mark for the best five-game start to a coaching tenure at the club, or break the record with a win (Dellurusso earned seven points in his first five games with the club in 2014; Carteron has six points in his first four).
While Saturday will be the first meeting between the two Western Conference Rivals this year, Phoenix and Orange County have been no strangers during Rising FC’s existence. In 11 prior meetings, Rising has won 6 times, lost 4 and drawn once. 2016 was an especially dominant year for Phoenix in the series, as the club went 2-0-1 against Orange County, outscoring the California outfit 6-2.
Game 14 — Phoenix Rising FC at Orange County Soccer Club
Date: Saturday, July 8, 2017
Stadium: Orange County Great Park
Phoenix Rising FC:5-5-3, 18 pts
Orange County SC:4-4-2, 14 pts
All-time Series: Phoenix Rising FC is 6-4-1 in its all-time series with Orange County SC. Phoenix is 3-2-1 in away games versus Orange County.