Match Preview Presented by Northern Arizona University
Rising (4-2-4) returns to 38th St/Washington to face Las Vegas Lights (0-4-6) this Friday, May 26 (7:30 p.m.) on the first $1 Beer Night since October 2019.
Rising have won back-to-back games in the USL for the first time this season after defeating Orange County away, and aim to continue its run of good form against a struggling Las Vegas side that has lost three of their past five games. Vegas has yet to record a win this season while Phoenix has never lost a regular season match on $1 Beer Night.
Rising head coach Juan Guerra dedicated their first back-to-back win to the players.
“It’s so important for the them,” Guerra said. “I’m happy for the players. They worked so hard. You see how much we push them in training sessions, how much I challenge them and how much I demand from them.”
Rising started slowly against Orange County and struggled at times to build up from the back. Guerra identified aspects of their performance that needed to be improved.
“In the first 20 minutes it was hard for us to find the rhythm of the game,” Guerra said. “We were making mistakes and easily turning over the ball during build up moments that cost you little by little. When you’re playing an away match and you want to build out of the back you need to have a lot of confidence and you need to be brave. So those little mistakes were things we just have to simplify.”
Rising are undefeated at home this season and match up well against Las Vegas. Rising has the third highest average possession in the league, whilst Las Vegas has the lowest. Vegas are also coming off a 4-1 away defeat to Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Rising should be favored against a Vegas side that was ranked lowest in the official USL Championship power rankings this week, but Guerra is focusing on the ways Rising can improve rather than taking results for granted.
“Vegas is not going to be an easy game,” said Guerra. “I told the players this is a very high-risk game. Vegas has a lot of individual talent. They’re trying out a lot of different concepts and eventually they’re going to find one that works for them. Our players need to understand that we can also be better. We still want to be better. There’s a lot of things that we can improve. I can promise you we will continue to improve.”