Phoenix Rising prepares to take on New Mexico United twice in five days beginning with a regular season match this Saturday, April 16 (7:30 p.m.), at Wild Horse Pass.
“We’re not looking ahead to Wednesday’s (April 20 U.S. Open Cup) match vs. New Mexico,” said Rising head coach Rick Schantz. “Just the one on Saturday. We’re focused on improving and continuing to get results.”
New Mexico United has not lost a match this season (2-0-2), outscoring its opponents 7-4 and winning its second round U.S. Open Cup match vs. Las Vegas Legends, 5-0, on April 5.
“Neco Brett is extremely fast,” Schantz said. “He gets in-behind. Sergio Rivas and Chris Wehan are both very good players that can find pockets and turn quickly. Both can kill you with a pass or on the dribble. Their guys out wide are industrious. They run up and down the pitch nonstop.”
Adversely, Rising has never lost to New Mexico United in a regular-season game (2-0-2), dating back to the clubs’ first tangle on March 16, 2019, which ended in a 3-3 draw in Phoenix. That match featured six goals, which is just above the average for matches between these two clubs (5.2 goals per game).
“For New Mexico, I think everything stems from them having possession and trying to dominate the middle of the field,” said Schantz. “New Mexico is willing to play direct when they need to. They have the pace to give you all kinds of problems if you don’t deal with it. Much like San Diego, they like to attack with numbers and there is a lot of rotation.”
“We have had to really dig deep and show our steel to win games this season,” Schantz said . “The guys know this now. They’re excited about the challenge.”