What You Need To Know
Phoenix Rising FC re-opens the 2020 season at Casino Arizona Field against LA Galaxy II this Saturday, July 11. The match is scheduled to kickoff at 7:00 p.m.
The first of three matches (2 home, 1 away) vs. Los Dos this season, Rising will be looking to move atop the Group B table. Group B is currently led by San Diego Loyal (1-0-1, 4PTS), who managed to play two matches prior to the league suspension due to COVID-19. Rising (1-0-0, 3PTS) sits in second above LA Galaxy II (1-0-0, 3PTS), Las Vegas Lights (0-0-1, 1PT) and Orange County (0-0-1, 1PT). Group B combined to collect 12 points prior to the suspension, by far the most in the league. Group E, consisting of Saint Louis, Indy Eleven, Louisville City and Sporting Kansas City II combined for the next-highest total of nine points, prior to the suspension.
In what seems like a different world, Rising began the season with a thorough, 6-1 throttling of Portland Timbers 2 in front of a sold-out crowd of 6,585 at Casino Arizona Field on Saturday, March 7. Newcomer Rufat Dadashov scored a hat trick while the defending USL MVP, Solomon Asante, notched two assists and a goal.
Rising came into the season following a successful preseason run that included three wins (out of four matches) against Major League Soccer sides. Phoenix Rising went 4-3-1 overall in its eight preseason matches and were led by Junior Flemmings, who had four goals.
Last season, Phoenix Rising won the 2019 USL regular-season title after setting league records for most wins (24), points (78), and goals (89) in a season. The club also set the league and North American professional outdoor soccer record for most consecutive wins (20). The streak is also the longest in Phoenix professional sports history.
PHX vs. Los Dos Series
PHX is 10-5-2 against Los Dos all-time
PHX has won its last seven regular-season matches against LA Galaxy II
PHX has out-scored Los Dos 18-8 during the streak
Four of the eight wins have been by one goal (2-1, 2-1, 4-3 & 3-2)
LA’s last win came on Aug. 31, 2016 (2-1)
LA won all three matches that season (2-0, 4-1 & 2-1)
About Los Dos
Last season: 12-12-10, -3 GD
YOUTH: The club’s oldest player is 24 and Los Dos has more players under 20 (7) than over (6)
LA throttled RGV Toros FC, 5-1, at RGV to open the season on March 8
Kai Koreniuk led the goal-scoring with a brace
About Phoenix Rising
Solomon Asante is the defending USL league MVP after leading the league in goals (22) and assists (17).
LA took a 2-0 lead vs. PHX on Aug. 3 but Rising prevailed 3-2
PHX downed LA, 4-1, the last time Los Dos played at Casino Arizona Field
Asante (2), Flemmings (3), Calistri and Ben Spencer scored vs. Los Dos in 2019
The club signed ten new players ahead of the 2020 season.
BEST RISING TEAM EVER?
It will be difficult to say at the end of a shortened season, let alone at the beginning - but head coach Rick Schantz has described the depth of the 2020 squad as "the best we've had in three years."
HELLO, MY NAME IS…
Phoenix entered the home-opener (3/7) with 10 players who could make their Rising debuts: Jack Barmby, Landon Carter, Rufat Dadashov, Eric Dick, Darnell King, Owusu-Ansah Kontoh, Lagos Kunga, Santi Moar, Jordan Schweitzer, and Sam Stanton. Six players did: Dadashov, King, Kontoh, Kunga, Schweitzer and Stanton. Four are vying for the chance to make their debut on July 11.
THERE IN SPIRIT
Rising hosted a Drive-Through & Drop-Off event at Casino Arizona Field on Thursday to collect fan-created posters. A total of 68 posters were collected and placed in the stadium to represent the fans that were unable to attend the match due to precautions surrounding COVID-19. Fans were also able to donate $25 to charity in exchange for a cardboard cutout to be created and placed in the stands with a photo of their choosing. By Wednesday, Rising collected over 200 cutouts.
When the USL Championship allowed teams to begin training in groups of four on Monday, May 11 - Rising used the time to work on technical training (fitness, shooting, passing and dribbling). When the restrictions eased again on June 9, Rising began to focus on tactical training (group play, formations, etc).