Rising Preview Presented by NAU
Rising secured three points on the road in Sacramento on Wednesday, keeping its hopes of finding a way into the top seven playoff positions alive. Now, the team returns to Wild Horse Pass for two of its final three matches beginning with Saturday’s bout with New York Red Bulls II (7:30 p.m.).
“We were good on the ball,” said Rising head coach Juan Guerra the day after the win. “It was clear what we wanted to do. All credit goes to the players. We gave them a gameplan and they executed well.”
Recent acquisition Gabi Torres was forced into an emergency start due to an injury to James Musa in warmups, but the transfer from FC Tulsa performed admirably. The defender completed 31 passes, created two chances and blocked a shot in the shutout win.
“Torres fits the style we want to play,” said Guerra. “He’s a good kid. To be able to step into the starting lineup like he did speaks to the quality of player that he is. We’re glad to have him.”
Another bright spot was Aodhan Quinn, who completed 100 passes at a 91% accuracy rate and blocked two shots.
“Having Aodhan is a big asset for us,” said Guerra. “We see the game similarly and that is very helpful to have a player that thinks like you do on the pitch. We asked him to drop a little bit to help out defensively and it worked.”
The win pushes Phoenix (36 points) within two wins of Rio Grande Valley (42 points) with three matches left to play. One of those three matches is head-to-head in Rio Grande Valley, next Saturday, October 8 (5:30 p.m.), but Phoenix must first get three points at home against New York.
“New York is young, hungry and athletic,” said Guerra. “Anyone that thinks this will be an easy game is mistaken. They’re young, hungry kids that are also fighting for their careers and I want our fans to go home happy.”