Match Preview Presented by Northern Arizona University
Phoenix Rising (4-4-5) returns to 38th St/Washington to face Louisville City FC (6-4-3) this Saturday, June 17 (7:30 p.m.).
Rising came back from a goal down twice to secure a draw against an Oakland Roots side that had won four out of its five previous games last Saturday and were arguably the better side. Rising once again dominated possession and created plenty of chances. According to American Soccer Analysis, the chances created were worth 2.08 goals, whilst Oakland created 1.03 goals.
Being on top against a team in such good form was an encouraging sign, however to Phoenix Rising assistant coach Danny Stone, the biggest positive was the character the players displayed.
“A huge positive, although obviously we wanted to win the game, is the fact that we came back on two occasions having gone a goal down,” Stone said. “That takes a lot of courage from players. That takes a lot of character from players because there are times games can get away from you. I felt one really encouraging sign was that the players never allowed that to happen. Even with the disappointing moments in conceding goals, they never allowed their heads to drop. They added energy back into the game and that speaks highly to their character.”
This weekend Rising are hosting a Louisville side that has kept five clean sheets in the past nine games, whilst only conceding seven goals in that stretch. Rising have struggled to convert chances against stingy defenses at times this season, a weakness the coaching staff is constantly trying to eliminate.
“We’ve had a good amount of attempts at goal over the last couple of weeks,” said Stone. “The disappointing factor is we haven’t quite rewarded ourselves with wins. The biggest thing we stressed with the players in the last few weeks is mentality. We know we have good quality players on field regardless of who we select. What we need to now is add into that group of players a mentality that says ‘we’re not just going to be happy with controlling games. We’re not just happy with dominating possession and dominating the flow of a game. We need to actually be creating and taking opportunities.’”
Despite Louisville’s lack of potency in front of goal, they should still present a tough match for Rising.
“We never expect there to be an easy game and Louisville is no different,” Stone said. “We know they have high quality players. We know when they click, they will perform well. They’re an excellent team. We expect a tough game. We’re preparing the players for a tough game physically and a tough game tactically. This is a great test for us. It’s a game where we’ll see how we fare up against a strong team.”