Rising Preview Presented by NAU
Phoenix Rising FC travels to Cardinale Stadium in Seaside, California this Wednesday, September 21 (7:30 p.m. on Bally Sports Arizona Extra) looking to repeat the result of its first match this season, a two-goal victory against expansion side Monterey Bay FC.
It won’t be easy. Monterey, led by former PRFC head coach Frank Yallop has won three in a row after beginning the year 1-6-0, including the franchise-unveiling, 4-2, loss to Rising on March 12.
Phoenix scored four first-half goals in that game, a feat it has yet to repeat this season. Ironically, these two teams swapped places in mid-May when Rising exited the U.S. Open Cup via a 2-0 loss to Sacramento on May 11. The next weekend, Monterey traveled to hostile Louisville City and left with a 2-0 win. Monterey followed that up with a 4-2 win at home against Colorado Springs while Rising won one of its next 12.
Following Phoenix’s last match, a 3-0 loss in San Diego, the club remains alive in its race to qualify for the postseason, but it needs to win at least three of its last five matches. One of those matches is against Rio Grande Valley FC, the team currently occupying the seventh and final postseason position and Phoenix’s lone win in its last seven matches.
“We’re losing 3-0, playing with 10 men and our fans are still behind us,” said Rising head coach Juan Guerra following the match in San Diego. “I told the guys on our bench to look up there. There were still people screaming and jumping and screaming.
Everyone supports you when you’re on a high note. That’s easy. When you’re not doing well… When you’re fighting adversity… When the product on the field doesn’t equal the passion of the fan base… They’re still supporting the team. They’re showing up. They’re driving six hours to see you play. That says a lot about the organization and the culture of the club. It puts a lot on our shoulders. We must be better. I guarantee that we will be better.”