Match Preview Presented by NAU
Phoenix Rising FC heads to San Diego to face Loyal SC this Saturday, September 17, at Torero Stadium. The match will be broadcast live on Bally Sports Arizona Extra and streamed on ESPN+ beginning at 7 p.m.
Rising is coming off a 2-0 loss to Oakland at home, but San Diego has also lost three straight.
“An early goal really changed our last game,” said Rising head coach Juan Guerra. “Our guys tried to build and gained some momentum but when we were closest to tying the game, Oakland’s second goal came. We hit the post and then they score to make it 2-0. At the end of the day, I know the standards we have here and the work we need to get done, but we’re going to be ok. We need keep working. Make sure we keep introducing concepts and tweaking things and fixing the problems.”
San Diego’s problems are not as dire, but it’s not a negative for Guerra.
“They have more room to be able to make mistakes than we do but I don’t see that as a bad thing,” he said. “That means we have to go there and be hungrier. We have to be more aggressive. We have to be more intense. We have to stay organized.”
San Diego’s losses have come in quick succession after Loyal SC was battling San Antonio for the top spot in the West in early August. Loyal was 15-5-4 on August 10, but now finds itself at 16-9-4 after falling to Birmingham (1-0), Oakland (3-1), Monterey Bay (3-1) and San Antonio (1-0).
“San Diego is a team I enjoy watching,” added Guerra. “We have a similar style of play. It’s going to be a good game. It’s going to be a battle. It will take maximum effort and concentration. We need to execute well.”
One of the players Guerra will be relying on in the absence of Joe Farrell this weekend, due to yellow card accumulation, is Hayden Sargis. He made his debut in Rising’s loss to Oakland on September 10.
“Hayden connected a lot of short passes,” said Guerra. “He kept talking. He kept organizing. He kept communicating. He did well and I’m not surprised.”
Sargis, who played 33 matches for Sacramento last season, will also play a key role if Rising is to be successful in Monterey Bay (Sept. 21) and against Republic FC (Sept. 28) as the team will be without the services of two players due to international callups.
“Marcus Ferkranus has been called into the U.S. [Under-20] National Team,” said Guerra. “We’re going to miss him for a couple of games. Kev [Lambert] has been called up too. We’re a bit thin on numbers, especially now that we’re playing with three center backs on the field. We needed someone to come in that could be influential and be on the ball. Hayden checks those boxes. He’s played in the West and he understands the organization he is representing. We’re happy to have him.”