Rising Match Preview presented by Northern Arizona University
Phoenix Rising FC (9-8-8) achieved what had eluded them the entire season over the weekend – coming from behind to win.
Prior to August 26, Phoenix had been 0-7-2 when allowing the first goal. Following its win in Vegas, the team will now look to build on the momentum of a second half that saw it crawl out of both a 0-1 and 1-2 hole, to win its fifth away match of the season, 3-2.
“I cannot say I’m not happy with the performance after watching the guys come back and win a game like that,” said Rising Head Coach Juan Guerra after the match. “It’s an away win. That is difficult. We fought adversity and came back twice.”
This week’s bout with adversity starts with the top team in the West, Sacramento (13-4-9) on a $1 Beer Night, Wednesday (7:30 p.m.) at 38th St/Washington. For Guerra, this battle hinges on being the team that took the field for the second half of its win in Vegas and avoiding the inconsistency that plagued the squad in the first half.
“How can we be the team that stepped on the field for the last 45 minutes,” asked Guerra. “We were going forward without fear. We were taking shots, sending in crosses, getting numbers in the box, defending in transition. In the second half, we saw consistency.”
So, what was the change at halftime?
“We needed to wake up,” said midfielder Panos Armenakas. “A lot was said in the locker room at halftime. We know our level. When we match our opponent’s intensity, we can beat any team in the league. We’ll be the better team if we just match the fight and intensity.”
“Tonight was a step in the right direction,” added Guerra. “It has been up and down. [Against Vegas] there were things we still didn’t do properly, but we woke up and fixed them. Let’s see what we can do Wednesday in front of our people. We’ll see if we can put together a strong performance versus a team that made us look very bad a few weeks ago.”