Rising Match Preview Presented by Northern Arizona University
Phoenix Rising’s second season at Wild Horse Pass opens Saturday, March 12 (7:30 p.m.), vs. a familiar gaffer, former head coach Frank Yallop, but against a very unfamiliar team – USL Championship expansion side Monterey Bay FC.
“Monterey could rotate any one of three giants as a striker,” said Rising head coach Rick Schantz during media availability on March 8. “Monterey’s center backs are very good, very athletic, but we might be able to expose them when they have the ball.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank [Yallop] is a bit direct against us. He might try to turn us around a little bit or bully us by being physical. You never know. Frank is a really good coach. He’s a smart guy with a lot of veterans. They’re not going to come in there and be afraid of us.”
Rising unveiled its first new Captain since 2019 and the 2022 kits at a fan event at The Churchill in downtown Phoenix on Monday, March 7. Schantz named right back Darnell King the team’s new Captain after Solomon Asante departed during the offseason.
“The decision came down to how much the players respect Darnell,” Schantz said. “Last year, they called him uncle D, maybe because of his age but the reality is there is a lot of respect there. I’ve paid a lot of attention to Darnell, Joey [Farrell] and Aodhan [Quinn] – the guys that have been around, but with Darnell… Every morning he comes into the facility, the doors open and you hear ‘good morning, family.’
He just has a positive, high-energy attitude. He gets the music going. That’s the kind of captain you want. Someone that’s going to lift the spirit of the guys. They don’t need to be yelled at or be pushed. They need someone that is going to get them moving in the right direction. Darnell has always been able to do that.”
“The great leaders that came before me, Didier Drogba and Solomon Astane shaped this club to do great things,” King said. “My goal is to accomplish that one thing we have not done yet, win that last game – the USL Championship.”