Real Monarchs SLC (1-0-0, 3 pts.) vs. Phoenix Rising FC (0-1-0, 0 pts.)
3 p.m. Saturday, Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT
TV, You Tube stream: YurView Arizona (Cox 7, 1007 HD), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNXd2aW81-w
USL Match Center: http://www.uslsoccer.com/realmonarchsslc-phoenixrisingfc-905452
While Phoenix Rising did not get the result it was looking for in the opener against Toronto FC II, the team gets the chance to redeem itself Saturday in the confines of Rio Tinto Stadium as Phoenix Riding FC makes its first road trip of the season to face Real Monarchs SLC.
“The emotional side of things are out of the way now with the grand opening of the stadium the letdown about not winning,” Frank Yallop said to Phoenix Rising FC TV this week following last week’s 1-0 loss to Toronto. “That hurts a lot but we’re ready to come out next game to put that straight.
“It’s a long season and we want to get quick onto winning ways and the guys have had a good week of practice and they’ll be ready to go.”
The key for Phoenix Rising will be if the midfielders can find their way up the field against the Monarchs. In the Toronto match, the midfielders sat deep in the field and couldn’t find ways up the field, leaving forward Omar Bravo playing a more lone forward role.
“It was obviously off to a disappointing opener for us,” midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips said. “We think we’ve come into training full of confidence and we’ve had good training sessions and we’ve worked on a few things we lacked that we needed in that game at that time.”
Wright-Phillips also talked about working to get the continuity with his teammates through more training sessions this week.
“That’s going to get better and better the more we play with each other and playing a certain system, learning each other’s movements and touches,” Wright-Phillips said.
Trying to get the team working together as a more cohesive unit now that the pomp and circumstance of the season-opener is done, is something Yallop, along with defender Peter Ramage, talked about in training this week.
“Both collectively and individually we’re still trying to get to know each other,” Ramage said. “We’ve only been together five weeks and there’s a lot of new faces in from last season.
“We’ve been trying to get that combination play going forward and keeping it solid in the back, kind of doing some intense attacks v defense. But we’ve got to recognize the qualities we have throughout the squad and come together as a collective unit to try and utilize those qualities.”
“We did a lot of combination play this week, did a lot of individual runs, a lot of service into the forwards,” Yallop said. “I think Omar was isolated in the game, to be honest, and we had width when we didn’t need it at times. The big thing is making sure we feed off chances we’re given.”
Real Monarchs come into the game off a 2-1 season-opening victory over Portland Timbers II. Goals by James Moberg and Nick Besler both came off set pieces, something Phoenix Rising has to pay attention to. Chandler Hoffman is another player to watch for the Monarchs. Hoffman has experience in the USL with LA Galaxy II and with Louisville City last season. It was also announced this week that Monarchs coach Mike Petke was named the coach for Real Salt Lake’s MLS club, and that Mark Briggs will now assume Petke’s role as manager.
As for going into Utah, Yallop knows the team is in for a tight match.
“Every game’s tough. Every game we play in this league gets harder and harder,” Yallop said. “There’s no youth teams out there anymore versus two or three years ago.”
POSSIBLE STARTING XI: (4-4-2): GK- Josh Cohen; D- Brock Granger, Peter Ramage, J.J. Greer, Victor Vasquez; MF- Matt Watson, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Luke Rooney, Alessandro Riggi; F- Omar Bravo, Mike Seth.
POSSIBLE RESERVES: GK- Carl Woszczynski, D- Kody Wakasa, Uchenna Uzo; MF- Blair Gavin, Jason Johnson; F- Chris Cortez, Matthew Hurlow-Paonessa.
Follow Firebird Rising on Twitter and on Facebook. Also listen to the Rising as One podcast, with Firebird Rising Managing Editor Jeff Wendt, and writers Matthew Treanor and Dominic Kearns, every Sunday throughout the season.