Didier Drogba directs traffic prior to a free kick. (Nik Pennington/PHXRisingFC.com)
(PHOENIX) August 11, 2017 — After snapping a two-match losing streak last week, Phoenix Rising FC looks to engineer a winning run when they head to Southern Texas to take on Rio Grande Valley FC on Saturday, August 12 at 5:30 p.m.
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.
First half goals from forward Didier Drogba and midfielder Alessandro Riggi guided Rising FC (7-7-4) past LA Galaxy II, 2-0, last Saturday, ending a season-long two-game losing streak for the club and clinching a three-game season sweep of Los Dos.
Now, Phoenix turns its attention to a club they have yet to face this season in Rio Grande Valley FC (7-10-4).
Both teams enter this week’s match on the fringes of the Western Conference playoff race. With 25 points apiece, both squads sit one point behind eighth-place Tulsa Roughnecks FC for the final playoff position in the conference; Rising is in 10th and Rio Grande Valley are 11th because of tiebreaks. Rising FC also have three games in hand on the Toros.
The South Texas side knocked off another playoff contender, Seattle Sounders FC 2, in their last match, picking up three road points in a 4-3 win. Down 3-1 at halftime, the Toros struck three times in the final 45 minutes, as Jorginho Jones, Jose Escalante, and Joseph Holland helped the club complete the second-half comeback.
In the club’s prior game, a stoppage-time penalty kick goal from Ruben Luna saved Rio Grande Valley in a 3-3 draw at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.
This week’s match against Phoenix will be the Toros first home date since July 26.
Rising FC meanwhile continues its run of road games, with the trip to Edinburg, Texas being the second of three consecutive away fixtures. The club looks for just their third away win of the season, and its first road victory over someone other than Galaxy II.
Drogba is the team’s leading goal scorer, with five on the year.
Rising FC goalkeeper Carl Wozszynski made just his second league start of the season against Los Dos and made two saves in a shutout effort. The clean sheet in LA was only the second Rising FC have recorded all season.
For the Toros, Luna and Murphy are joint top scorers with four goals each while Justin Bilyeu leads the team with four assists, and Eric Bird’s 20 created chances are a team high.
Rising FC have not beaten Rio Grande Valley before, as the two drew in their only previous meeting last season, a 1-1 match on June 26, 2016 in Texas.
Game 19 – Phoenix Rising FC at Rio Grande Valley FC
Date: Saturday, August 12, 2017
Stadium: H-E-B Park
Phoenix Rising FC:7-7-4, 25 points
Rio Grande Valley FC:7-10-4, 25 pointsAll-time
Series:Phoenix Rising FC is 0-0-1 in its all-time series with Rio Grande Valley FC.