Rising Match Preview Presented by NAU
Phoenix Rising faces New Mexico United in a third-round U.S. Open Cup match tomorrow (7:30 p.m.) at Wild Horse Pass. Facing the same squad just five days after earning a hard fought, 1-0, victory at home, Rising head coach Rick Schantz expects tensions will be high.
“The way the match ended on Saturday… how it ended… They probably felt they deserved a point,” Schantz said. “They created a lot of good chances. Emotions are going to run very high on Wednesday. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a high level of emotion this match.”
Saturday’s win saw eight cautions, 29 fouls, seven saves and one USL Player of the Week performance by goalkeeper Ben Lundt, who made four saves in the run of play before stopping a penalty kick attempt to seal the win in stoppage-time.
“It wasn’t just the penalty save he made at the end,” said Schantz. “He had a save that led to our goal. There were a few others that were very significant. He played with a lot of confidence.”
Hoping to hold New Mexico under the 17 shots and 59-41 edge in possession the visitors created on Saturday, Schantz will be looking to adapt to his opponent on Wednesday.
“New Mexico has two forwards that are very fast,” Schantz said. “If we try to match up, man-to-man, it gets a bit difficult. We must make some tactical adjustments. Based on how we ended the game on Saturday, I don’t want to be as defensive. We were sitting a bit, just giving up possession. We need to adjust a few things.”
“I told this group that this may be a season when we have to be a bit like a chameleon,” said Schantz. “We must be able to adapt, change and still get results. We’re proving we can do that. At this point in the season, we’re still a work in progress. We have things to work on and we’ve had some key injuries. That being said, the boys have won four straight. I’m proud of them. Mostly because they’ve done it strictly on grit, will power and a desire to compete.”