Six Phoenix Rising Academy players made their first-team debut in the club’s 7-0 loss to New Mexico United.
Eight total Academy players came on the trip because multiple covered persons on Phoenix Rising’s first team were unable to participate per the League’s COVID-19 protocols.
Three of those players, Jacob Harris, Josh Martinez, and Luke Schaefer, started for the club. Zak Smith, Thomas Knight, Kevin Mearse, and Blaize Hardy, were subbed into the match in the second half. Jack Baker dressed as the club’s backup goalkeeper but wasn’t pressed into service.
“I’m really proud of the young guys,” said Phoenix Rising head coach Rick Schantz. “What an experience. I told them go out there and try as hard as you can. I thought the Academy kids were ok.”
New Mexico took an early lead in the sixth minute off a long-distance free-kick goal. United then doubled the lead in the 10th minute and added a third goal in the 18th minute. The home team finished the first-half scoring in the 30th minute and took a 4-0 lead into the half.
New Mexico didn’t score again until the 75th minute with the help of a Rising own goal. The host added two more goals in the 78th and 82nd minutes.
Despite the scoreline, Schantz was positive about what the match did for the future of the club.
“Every five-year old in Phoenix Rising Youth now can aspire to play for our pro organization because it’s possible,” Schantz said. “You never know when and you never know how. And these guys understand what it takes to be pro.”
Phoenix Rising returns to league play this Saturday, May 28th at Hartford Athletic. The match kicks off at 4pm and will air on Bally Sports Arizona and ESPN+. Fans can attend the club’s official watch party at Vero Pizza Gilbert (1431 E Williams Field Rd Suite 104, Gilbert).
Rising’s next home match is on Saturday, June 4, against Birmingham Legion. The match will also be the club’s official Pride Night. Fans interested in tickets, can head to www.phxrisingfc.com.
NM — Chris Wehan 6
NM — Justin Portillo 10
NM — Harry Swartz (Justin Portillo) 18
NM — Justin Portillo 30
NM — Darnell King (own goal) 75
NM — Christian Nava 78
NM — Daniel Bruce 82
NM — Christian Nava (caution)
NM — Sergio Rivas (caution)
PHX — Carlos Anguiano (caution)
PHX — Blaize Hardy (caution)
PHX — Manuel Madrid (caution)
Edward Delgado, Darnell King, Sivert Haugli (Blaize Hardy), Manual Madrid, Jonathan Levin (Zak Smith), Jacob Harris, Carlos Anguiano, Josh Martinez, Luke Shaefer, Claudio Repetto (Kevin Mearse), Richmond Antwi (Thomas Knight)
Subs unused- Joey Calistri, Jack Baker
New Mexico United
Rivas (Sandoval), Tabort Etaka (Kieswetter), Nava, Portillo (Azira),Swartz (Bruce), Ryden, Wehan (Souahy), Hamilton, Seymour, Tetteh, Tambaskis
Subs unused- Parker, Ovouka