Phoenix Rising FC was slated to be coming off a stretch of three games in eight days when the team faced LA Galaxy II at Wild Horse Pass Saturday, July 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Instead, the travel-weary group got to sleep in their own beds as a midweek trip to Oakland was moved to August 25, due to a COVID-19 concern within the Roots covered-persons group.
Refrshed and reloaded, Rising now looks to defend Wild Horse Pass against Los Dos for the second time this month. In the first matchup on July 3, Phoenix defeated LA, 3-0. Now, the team looks to extend its winning streak over Galaxy II to 12-straight games, Rising's longest win streak against any opponent in club history.
Los Angeles, who is 3-6-4 on the season, is seeking its first win since May 29. While Los Dos struggled on the defensive end, conceding 22 goals this the season, the club has been strong in attack, scoring 21 goals. That total is tied for third most in the league. LA's promising offense is led by 22-year-old Preston Judd, who has a team-best seven goals. The 20-year-old Jorge Hernandez has added another five goals and leads the league with 29 chances created.
"They're good," said head coach Rick Schantz. "They're very, very talented going forward. We were really focused on Judd the last game - not letting him get behind us, where he's really dangerous. With Hernandez, you need to make sure he cannot find a lot of free space in the middle. You have to focus on those two for sure."
Phoenix, who has yet to lose at Wild Horse Pass (5-0-1), needs to keep its foot on the gas pedal as Orange County SC and San Diego Loyal have crept to within two points of the defending Western Conference Champions. Fortunately for Phoenix, the Valley has been a fortress. Rising has outscored opponents 20-4, winning by an average margin of 2.7 goals.
Last time it took the pitch at Wild Horse Pass, Rising enjoyed the backing of another club-record crowd, as 8,815 fans packed the stadium. Those fans saw goals by Tate Schmitt, Solomon Asante and Santi Moar, while Andre Rawls recorded a six-save shutout.
Despite the 3-0 win, Los Dos remain a dangerous opponent with a ton of firepower. If Rising cannot jump on top early, fans at Wild Horse Pass may be in for a shootout.