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Phoenix Rising Looks To Clinch USL Regular Season Title In New Mexico

By Phoenix Rising Communications, 09/27/19, 11:00AM MST

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What You Need To Know

  • Phoenix Rising suffered its first loss in 20 matches, falling to Fresno FC, 2-1, last Saturday
  • Phoenix Rising’s magic number to clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the USL Championship Playoffs is one.
  • Phoenix Rising is one win shy of matching the USL Championship record for wins in a season.

THIS WEEK
Saturday, September 28th – at New Mexico United @ 6:30 p.m.
Stream: ESPN+ (U.S. viewers)
TV: Your PHX CW (channel 6 on cable and 61.1 on satellite & over-the-air)
Radio: ArizonaSports.com 
Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Four the first time in four-plus months, Phoenix Rising comes off a loss as it heads into its next meeting: a grudge match in Albuquerque against New Mexico United. Kickoff is scheduled 6:30 p.m. and will air on Your PHX CW (channel 6 on cable and 61.1 on satellite & over-the-air) as well as ArizonaSports.com.

Last Saturday, Rising FC’s 20-match winning streak came to an end following a 2-1 loss to Fresno FC. After falling behind 1-0 in the second half, forward Junior Flemmings equalized less than five minutes later and appeared to give momentum back to the visiting side. But Fresno tallied a game-winner and Rising FC missed two penalty kicks in the closing minutes of the match.

The 20-match winning streak stands as the longest winning streak in American professional soccer history. The previously recognized record was 15 matches held by LA Galaxy (the previous USL Championship record was ten, held by FC Cincinnati). Rising FC’s streak is also the longest winning streak in Phoenix professional sports history, besting the previous record of 18 held by the Arizona Rattlers.

While Phoenix Rising fell short of matching the USL Championship record for consecutive matches unbeaten (23), the club can still match or break the league records for wins in a season (23) and points in a season (77), both set by FC Cincinnati last season.

While Phoenix Rising was maintaining its winning streak, New Mexico United has been battling to maintain a spot in the playoffs. The club is currently in 8th place (top ten teams make the playoffs) sitting on 40 points. But the West playoff race is tight with just two points separating New Mexico United from 13th-place OKC Energy FC.

New Mexico is currently in the middle of a four-match homestand and has gone 1-1-0 following the first two matches. Last Friday, the club fell to Reno 1868 FC 3-1. The club’s second-leading scorer, Santi Moar, earned a yellow card and as a result will be suspended for Saturday’s match because of yellow card accumulation.

This will be the final match of the season series between the two clubs. Phoenix Rising opened Casino Arizona Field in 2019 against New Mexico, earning a hard-fought 3-3 draw on March 16th.

Phoenix Rising will be hosting two official watch parties for Saturday's match. Fans can go to Crown Public House in downtown Phoenix or Pub Rock Live in Scottsdale.
 
PHXvNM Series

  • This will be the 2nd all-time league meeting between the two clubs, with their only other meeting coming earlier this season in PHX (a 3-3 draw). 

A Little Bit About New Mexico United

  • The club’s leading scorer is Kevaughn Frater with 14 goals in 25 appearances. Santi Moar is second in goals with nine but will not be available for selection on Saturday.
  • Manny Padilla and Chris Wehan lead the team in assists with 5 each.
  • New Mexico is 5-3-5 at home this season.

A Little Bit About Phoenix Rising  

  • Per Opta, the team’s 7.0 team rating is tops in USL Championship.
  • PHX has scored three or more goals in 17 of its 30 games this season.
  • PHX’s 78 goals scored is tops in USL Championship. Solomon Asante leads all of USL Championship in goals (22) and assists (15).
  • Zac Lubin leads the league in clean sheets (13).
  • Per Opta, Asante has the best average player rating at 8.24. He’s the only player currently above 8. PHX has two of the top four rated players in the league (Asante and Flemmings).

Spreading The Wealth
On the season, 14 different players have scored a goal. The club record for most players to score in a season is 17, set in 2017.

Difference Makers 
Not only is Phoenix Rising leading USL championship in goals (78), but the club’s goal differential is also the best in the league by a wide margin. The club currently has a +50 goal differential, 19 goals better than the next highest total.

Win, Win, Win, No Matter What…
Phoenix Rising has 22 wins on the season and have already broken the club record for wins in the regular season (19). With four matches remaining on the schedule, the club is on the verge of breaking the USL Championship record for wins in a season (23), set by FC Cincinnati last season.

Chasing Records
Phoenix Rising has already broken the club record for points in a season (63, set in 2018). With 71 points, PHX now has the chance to break the USL Championship record for most points in a season (77), set by FC Cincinnati last season.

Iron Man Watch
Defender Amadou Dia remains the club’s minutes leader with 2,430 minutes played. He’s followed by Adam Jahn (2,412), Solomon Asante (2,395), Zac Lubin (2,340), and Mustapha Dumbuya (1,940) to round out the top five. 14 players total have logged 1,000 or more minutes this season.

Home Sweet Home
Phoenix Rising has clinched the number one seed in the Western Conference playoffs, which means the club will host every round through the Western Conference Finals. They can clinch the USL Regular Season Title and home-field advantage for the entire USL Championship Final this Saturday with a win or draw against New Mexico OR and Indy Eleven draw or loss. Indy Eleven kicks off two and a half hours prior to Phoenix Rising, which means Phoenix Rising could potentially clinch the USL Regular Season Title before kicking off.

Man on Fire
Solomon Asante now has 37 combined goals and assists on the season, breaking a USL Championship record (32) set last year by FC Cincinnati’s Emmanuel Ledesma, who recorded 16 goals and 16 assists in the regular season. Asante's 22 goals are three off the league's regular-season record of 25, set in 2018 by Louisville City FC’s Cameron Lancaster. His 15 assists are one off the league's regular-season record of 16, set in 2018 by Ledesma.

Clean Sheet King
Zac Lubin has 13 clean sheets on the season, leading USL Championship and setting a new club record for clean sheets in a regular season (previously was 12, set by Carl Woszczynski last season). He is also two clean sheets off the league record for most shutouts in the regular season (15, set last year by Ottawa Fury FC's Maxime Crépeau).