Match Preview Presented by Northern Arizona University
Phoenix Rising (4-3-4) travels to Pennsylvania to face Pittsburgh Riverhounds (5-2-5) this Saturday at 4 p.m MST (live on Arizona’s Family Sports and Entertainment Network and ESPN+).
Rising fell 1-0 to a determined Las Vegas side last Saturday, and Rising coach Juan Guerra is eying up their road trip as a bounce-back game.
“We’re looking forward to the game. I wish we could play sooner. I wish we could have played on Wednesday so it would have been easier to turn the page,” Guerra said. “ And it’s Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh and we get to play on Saturday night and I just cannot wait. I can’t wait to see the response from the players and from absolutely everyone, not just the players, the staff, the supporters. We want to see a response from absolutely everybody.”
Rising dominated proceedings against Vegas, recording 69% possession and 16 shots to Vegas’ 10, but were undone by a defensive lapse of concentration after a throw-in.
Rising had started to put together a good run of form prior to their loss, winning back-to-back games against Orange County and Loudon United. Guerra says they need to develop consistency in their performance.
“It’s been very clear we need to find consistency now in results,” Guerra said. “I think we haven’t had consistency in results or performance. Sometimes we look very good and we have wongames, other times we haven’t looked good and it has not led to a good result. So that’s what we need to find – consistency. Consistency of performance leads to results.”
Pittsburgh represent another tough matchup for Rising. They average the second lowest rate of possession in the league (43.7%), but they’ve conceded the third fewest goals (9). At times Rising struggled to break down Vegas’ compact block, and Guerra hopes to work on this issue ahead of the game.
“It’s going to be tough, they’re very compact, not a lot of space in between the lines or gaps in between players,” Guerra said. “And it’s a team that likes to press. It’s also a team that’s very comfortable waiting for you. They’re okay waiting for a mistake or for someone to win the ball and get that transition moment. For us, we have just got to be careful in the build up. At the moment we want to utilize the middle of the field to build up. We utilize it as part of our identity, but we just have to be cautious when we go there.”