Rising Match Preview Presented by NAU
Prior to facing New Mexico United for the second time in five days, Rising head coach Rick Schantz said his team needed to be “Chameleon like” in its approach to this season. True to his word, the manager sent out a brand-new formation to quiet a New Mexico attack that posted 17 shots vs. Rising on April 16.
Phoenix found an early goal in its midweek U.S. Open Cup match against United and looked much more comfortable against a team that came to Wild Hose Pass unbeaten this season, and left with a record of 3-2-2 across all competitions.
“The idea against New Mexico was to man-up everywhere,” said Schantz following the 2-1 win on Wednesday. “We didn’t worry too much about possession. During my time here as an assistant coach under Patrice Carteron, he told me ‘if the other team doesn’t score and you have some special players, you’re going to win a lot of games.’ We know we can score goals. We’ll find them, but lately we’ve been very, very good defensively. I’m proud of that.”
The defensive turnaround for the club has been abrupt. Rising allowed 2.3 goals per match in March before shutting out an unbeaten San Antonio side in Texas on April 2. Rising has allowed just 0.40 goals per match in April, winning five straight across all competitions.
The next hurdle is a Miami FC side (7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23 at Wild Horse Pass) that also has a knack for defense. The South Florida squad has earned four clean sheets in six league matches this season.
“I expect Miami to come out in a mid-to-low block – a 4-4-1-1 or a 4-2-3-1,” said Schantz. “Kyle Murphy and Florian Valot are dynamite players. They have speed out wide. They’re capable of really punishing you. We are hoping, on our field with it being hot that we can make it miserable for them after a long flight. We hope to put them under a lot of pressure and try to take advantage.”