Rising Match Preview Presented by NAU.
Phoenix Rising (7-8-0) travels to Las Vegas (6-6-4) this weekend to face Lights FC for the second of three scheduled meetings in 2022.
The last time these two met, Las Vegas took all three points thanks to a goal-and-assist performance from forward Daniel Trejo. Vegas has won two in a row, outscoring San Diego and Orange County, 5-1, in its last 180 minutes of action.
“They’re a good team,” said Rising head coach Rick Schantz. “Their front three are dangerous. They’re very technical, very quick. They like to play in transition, so we’ll need to be much better on the ball. Our possession has been horrible. We’ve had too many turnovers. That has been a big area of focus for us this week.”
Rising on the other hand has dropped three in a row.
“The results have been deserved,” said Rising center back Joe Farrell. “We’re not playing to two fifths of our potential, nowhere near. We have to begin by getting small wins. We need to get our quality back. There is so much talent in this locker room but right now that isn’t showing on the weekends. That’s not acceptable. We have the ability to knock the ball around. We have the ability to score three or four goals. We have the ability to get shutouts.”
Being below the playoff line for the first time in memory and having lost an equal number of games this season as it did in 2020 and 2021 combined, Rising fans are in a very unfamiliar position. Through all the adversity this season has presented, Phoenix (24) is just seven goals off the pace of league-leading Colorado Springs (31). Rising is also a single point behind the seventh and final playoff spot with 19 matches remaining.
“We have 19 games left,” said forward Santi Moar. “It is a massive opportunity. I told the guys… I took a screen shot of the standings as they are now. I want to see at the end of the season, a big difference. I want to see us above the playoff line and shutting some mouths. We have a point to prove.”