Rising Match Preview presented by NAU
Rising (1-2-0) travels to San Antonio (3-0-0) for its second road trip of the season this Saturday (5:30 p.m. on Bally Sports Extra and ESPN+).
San Antonio began the season with a 1-0 win at home before traveling to LA and RGV for a pair of 2-1 wins. Rising enters the match on its first two-game losing streak in four years.
“We’re not competing,” said Rising head coach Rick Schantz. “We’re not winning 50-50 balls. We’re not winning duels. We’re not being physical in a physical league.”
Schantz has been here before. His 2019 squad began the season with four consecutive draws, the first of which ended, 3-3, in a shootout in San Antonio. That team found its stride and then some, reeling off 20 consecutive wins from May to September.
“This is a team that obviously needs a little bit of time to hit its stride,” said Schantz. “We still have complete faith in all of them. They’re going to get where they intend. Sometimes it feels better when you struggle to get there. When things aren’t going well, you put your head down and work as hard as you possibly can. You need to be honest and evaluate yourself.”
One of the bright spots this season has been the play of Luis Seijas, who notched his first goal of the year last time out.
“Every time he comes on the field, Luis has been fantastic,” said Schantz. “His experience is invaluable. He knows what it takes to be a true professional. He’s lifted the team. He’s earned a lot of respect.
Players with that much experience and quality in their past come to new teams and generally the coach just puts them right into the lineup. I didn’t do that. I made him earn his spot and he proved me wrong. He deserves it. Of all the players right now, he has done extremely well with his chances.”
Seijas will likely feature on Saturday in a lineup full of changes. The veteran Venezuelan midfielder will have his work cut out for him against a San Antonio side that is allowing under a goal per game.
“They play in a 3-4-3 that transitions into a back five at times,” said Schantz. “They’re willing to play direct. A team that is willing to fight and defend is difficult to break down.”
San Antonio is also one of the few places Phoenix has never picked up three points. Rising is 0-3-2 vs. the club in five tries.
“Up until a few years ago Rising had never won or drawn a match at RGV,” said Schantz. “We were able to win a game there when it was least expected. Maybe now is the time to get a win in San Antonio.”