Phoenix Rising FC kicked off last weekend's Independence Day celebration with an emphatic 3-0 win against LA Galaxy II at Wild Horse Pass. In addition to extending its win streak over LA to 11 straight games, Rising set a new club attendance record with 8,815 fans at its new venue. Solomon Asante and Santi Moar each scored their seventh goals of the season, while Tate Schmitt notched his second.
Phoenix, who boasts a 5-0-1 home record, will now look to improve their 2-2-0 road record as the club heads East to face the Charlotte Independence for the first time in club history. After starting off the season 4-2-0, Charlotte has lost four of its last five games, all of which have been played in a 17-day span.
While Charlotte is coming off a gruesome schedule, Phoenix is just beginning a stretch where the team of three games in eight days. Accordingly, head Coach Rick Schantz will look to utilize the team's depth in the coming matches. Against Charlotte, Schantz is expecting another tough road challenge in a team that is well organized behind head coach Mike Jeffries. The club does boast USL Championship's all-time leading goal scorer in Dane Kelly.
"If there's one thing I know about Coach Jeffries, he's consistent," said Schantz. "He does things the same all the time. There's a lot to be said about that. Simplicity is genius. He knows exactly what he wants from his team. They try to build out of the back, but if you press him, they're willing to go long because Dane Kelly can really fly. It's going to be a huge challenge for us, but we'll be ready."
Charlotte will host Phoenix in its newly renovated American Legion Memorial Stadium for the club's first weekend match. Schantz is looking forward to the atmosphere at the new stadium and welcomes these challenges on the road:
"It seems like everyone puts us on their calendar to open stadiums or for their first full-stadium," he said. "Maybe that's a credit to what Phoenix Rising has done and what Phoenix Rising is. For us, it's awesome. We love that kind of environment. We embrace it. We have to embrace the expectations of being good and being champions. This is the kind of the environment we want to go into and show a little bit better than we did in Tampa, make sure we're ready, and try to get three points."