Preview Presented by NAU
Phoenix Rising wraps up its 2022 season at home this Saturday, October 15, vs. Atlanta United 2 (7:30 p.m.).
Atlanta United 2 downed LA Galaxy II last Saturday, October 15 in California. The come-from-behind win was the club’s third road victory of the season. United was down 1-0 until the 75th minute, when Tristan Trager scored his first of the evening. He found the back of the net again in the 87th minute before Jonathan Villal added a third in stoppage-time.
“Atlanta United 2 is a young group that plays very well,” said Rising head coach Juan Guerra. “They’re coached by someone I respect [Jack Collison]. It’s not going to be an easy match for us on Saturday night, but we have a responsibility to finish strong at home. We want to send our fans home with a good performance and a good result.”
Rising is coming off a 2-1 loss in Rio Grande Valley last weekend.
“We needed to be better in the final third of the field,” said Guerra. “We must take more risk. We have to be more successful in one-on-one situations. We have to deliver earlier crosses. We cannot go to RGV and have 70% possession of the ball, complete over 400 passes and not create more chances.”
The loss to RGV officially eliminated Phoenix from the post season for the first time since the club rebranded ahead of the 2017 season.
“We have to make sure we don’t forget the feeling [of being eliminated from postseason contention],” said Guerra. “We want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. To do that we have to prepare. We need to make sure the decisions we make, make sense. I can guarantee we’re going to be better next year.
“We have to make sure next year we build, not just for the short term, but to create a platform that gives us longevity for a number of years. We have to build a team that reflects the identity of the organization, our fan base and supporters. We have to make sure we have a clear style of play. We’ll identify and bring in players that fit the game model and have character.”