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Know Your Opponent: Phoenix Rising FC

By Myles Bridgewater-Jackman, 06/08/18, 4:00PM PDT

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Reacquaint yourself with Rising FC.


Courtesy Phoenix Rising FC

Fresh off their 2-1 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup upset victory over Seattle Sounders FC Wednesday night, Sacramento Republic FC turn their sights back toward USL regular season play on Saturday night against Phoenix Rising FC.

Prior to Saturday’s match, reacquaint yourself with Phoenix Rising FC.

Last Time they Met

Thanks to goals from Cameron Iwasa, Villyan Bijev, and Wilson Kneeshaw, Sacramento knocked off Phoenix Rising with a 3-1 victory on the road back on May 19. Iwasa netted the opening strike as center back Carlos Rodriguez lifted a long ball to the forward who then placed a perfect strike far post to put Republic FC up 1-0. Bijev then doubled the lead against Phoenix, slotting his goal from the top of the box off a one-two pass in the 21st minute. The home team was unable to convert a PK in the 32nd minute and the teams headed to the half with the score 2-0 for Republic FC. Phoenix pulled one back late in the game as former Chivas USA forward Chris Cortez blasted a shot top shelf to pull within one. However, Republic FC locked up the victory at the 88th minute as Kneeshaw sprinted past the Rising FC’s defensive line and beat an oncoming challenge from the keeper for his first goal of the season.

KEY PLAYERS

Phoenix Rising midfielder Solomon Asante was named to his second USL Team of the Week this season for his performance during Phoenix’s 3-1 win over Saint Louis FC last Wednesday. The 27-year-old Ghanaian international has impressed in his first season with PRFC, connecting for five goals while also adding four assists in his 13 games played. His assists total ranks tied for fourth in the league and sits just three assists shy of league-leader Emmanuel Ledesma. Asante also nears the leaderboard in goals, ranking just outside of the league’s Top 10.

One of 2017’s Twenty Under Twenty, midfielder Collin Fernandez has earned eight starts in nine games played this season while thriving as a playmaker. With a pass success rate of 81.8 percent, Fernandez has been pinpoint precise in his own half (90.2% accuracy) and connected for 18 key passes. His three assists in just 9 games have already toppled his season best of just a year ago and ranks him second to only Asante places him amongst the league’s best (t-12th).

2018 So Far

Winners against Saint Louis FC in a 3-1 final last week, Phoenix Rising FC picked up their first points in their past three games, keeping pace with Republic FC in the Western Conference Standings. The Arizona team kicked off the season well, playing to a 1-1 draw with Orange County SC before defeating OKC Energy FC 4-1 in their home opener on March 24. Following another victory, Phoenix saw their first loss come in a 1-0 shutout by Real Monarchs before taking off on a six-game unbeaten streak. Republic FC stalled Rising FC, beating them 3-1 in Scottsdale on May 19. A 1-0 loss to Swope Park Rangers and a subsequent 3-1 victory in Fenton, Missouri has placed Phoenix Rising FC in second placed with a 7-3-3 record and 24 points earned on the year.

Home & Away Splits

While playing to a 2-2-2 mark at Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex this season, Rising FC has baffled opponents on the road. A +10 goal differential has helped Phoenix to a 5-1-1 record away from Arizona, with their lone road loss coming on May 26 at Swope Park Rangers.

Saturday’s MATCH

Republic FC and Phoenix Rising FC will face off this Saturday on Equality Night at Papa Murphy’s Park. The team captain will don a special pride-themed armband, while the pitch will feature pride-themed corner flags. The first 2,500 fans to enter the stadium will receive free glow sticks courtesy of the California Endowment Fund. Kickoff will take place at 8:00 p.m.

TV: KQCA My 58, Estrella TV Sacramento
Livestream: ESPN+
Radio: Sports 1140 KHTK

Updates will be provided via Twitter at @SacRepublicFC or using #SACvPHX

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