Match Preview Presented by Northern Arizona University
Phoenix Rising (5-4-6) travels to Oakland Roots SC (6-4-4) this Saturday at 7 p.m. (live on Arizona’s Family Sports and Entertainment Network and ESPN+).
Rising are coming off a 3-1 win against New Mexico United, whilst Oakland drew 0-0 at home against a strong Pittsburgh Riverhounds side. Oakland have only conceded two goals in six home games this season whilst scoring seven. In that stretch Oakland have won three, drawn two and lost one.
The game is a rematch from two weeks ago, where Rising were unfortunate to only come away with a 2-2 draw at home after dominating Oakland for most of the game.
Playing Oakland away will be far harder given their defensive excellence. However, Rising have been fantastic on the road this season, recording three away wins, already matching last season’s away wins in only eight games.
Rising are also on the up after breaking a four-game winless streak in a win where the result finally matched the performance on the pitch. Rising coach Juan Guerra wants to build on the win.
“Tonight, we connected on a good performance and that led to a good result,” Guerra said. “When we lose, we definitely know how to lose. We don’t panic. We make sure we focus on the weaknesses, to try to get better and keep getting better week after week. When we win, we also stay very balanced. We’ll celebrate tonight, but we’ve got to turn the page very quickly because we want to go to Oakland. We want to put on another performance that leads to a good result. We want to keep climbing the table.”
“But tonight I just want to congratulate the players for all the hard work they’ve been putting in,” Guerra continued. “They deserve a result like this. It’s a very hard place to come and get a result. It’s a hostile place to play. So tonight, we’re happy. We still have a lot to work on, but we keep moving forward. We celebrate tonight. We turn the page tomorrow.”
The togetherness Guerra’s squad has shown so far will be important for maintaining the string of good performances Rising has put together the past few weeks.
“We’re together,” said Guerra. “We’re together through thick and thin. We’re going to keep moving forward no matter what. This group believes in what we’re building. This group is together. This group is happy. This group understands the organization we represent. We’re very proud. We’re happy to be here. We’re going to fight and give everything we have to put this organization where it deserves to be by the end of the season.”