After a stretch of six games in 22 days, Rising has now enjoyed a full week of preparation prior to facing LA Galaxy II in Los Angles this Sunday, May 1 (5PM on Bally Sports Arizona/ESPN+), at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Rising won all six of those matches, one of which was against this same Los Dos side, thanks mostly to a defense that has allowed 0.50 goals per game since April 2. But with the final five of those wins coming at home, head coach Rick Schantz is looking to continue his team’s success away from Wild Horse Pass, where Rising is 15-1-5 all-time.
“The rotations from LA Galaxy II are top notch,” said Schantz. “It’s going to be a tough challenge. We’re playing in the [MLS] stadium. It’ll be a huge field. They like to move the ball around and make you run. We’re looking forward to the opportunity of going on the road and challenging ourselves.”
The only loss suffered by LA Galaxy II in its last five matches was to Rising, 3-1, on April 9. Luis Seijas scored a brace that match before Joey Calistri set up a goal by Marcus Epps in the 90th minute. Remi Cabral scored Los Dos’ only goal in the 68th minute.
“The group we have this year has shown they deal with adversity fairly well,” said Schantz. “They can handle change and adjustments. It doesn’t matter which players are on the field. They’re willing to fight till the end. That helps when you go on the road.”
The lone team to go on the road and pick up a result against Galaxy II this season is San Antonio FC, who will be waiting for Rising at Wild Horse Pass in its next home match on May 7. Facing Los Dos on March 19, San Antonio gave up a goal to LA’s Carlos Harvey in the 30th minute, which tied the match, 1-1. San Antonio scored on a free kick seconds after going up a man via a second yellow card issued to Adrian Gonzalez in the 52ndminute.
Whether playing up a man, on the road or during a stretch of six games in 22 days, Schantz feels this year’s squad is capable of doing what it takes to get results.
“I’m thankful we had a stretch like we did,” said the sixth-year head coach of Rising. “It forced me to give other players opportunities. Our players handled the tactical adjustments well.
We decided [in 2018] there needed to be a philosophy first rather than a system of play. The philosophy was to be aggressive, to press, to get after teams. We did it best in a 4-3-3 for so many years. We haven’t changed that philosopahy but now we’re seeing how we can use it in different systems or formations.”