Phoenix Rising FC (0-2-0, 0 pts., 15th in West) vs. LA Galaxy II (1-1-0, 3 pts., 7th in West)
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex
TV, You Tube stream: YurView Arizona (Cox 7, 1007 HD), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77Ff8cGq690
USL Match Center: http://www.uslsoccer.com/phoenixrisingfc-lagalaxyii-905468
Still winless and goal-less in the 2017 USL season, Phoenix Rising FC looks to end both of those streaks Saturday night as fierce rival LA Galaxy II comes to the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex for a Western Conference battle.
“We had a couple chances to score, didn’t take them and as the game wore on we kind of faded out of the game,” Phoenix Rising coach Frank Yallop said of the effort in Salt Lake City last Saturday against Real Monarchs SLC. “But to concede a penalty kick right before halftime is one of the worst times to concede. It was a bad play and kind of set us back.
“Having said that we still had chances at 1-0 and didn’t take them again, so our finishing is off right now, our general play is still not up to par, but another week of practice, hopefully we can come out flying in this game against the Galaxy which we’ve geared up for.”
One of the things the players have been working on in practice this week is the touches in the final third of the field.
“We’ve been doing a lot of crossing and finishing, something we haven’t been executing in the game,” midfielder Matt Watson said. “I think I know we’re capable of it but it’s just about habits making sure when you have teammates in the box making runs you put the ball in.”
“Guys are getting up to speed with their fitness and the tactical stuff and I’m not making excuses but we’ve got to roll up our sleeves Saturday night and win it,” Yallop added.
While the results haven’t been there early, defender Jordan Stewart says the mood of the team is still positive heading into Saturday’s match.
“I think we’ve got a good bunch of guys here,” Stewart said. “The results haven’t gone our way but we’re never going to be ones to be down and that comes from the coaches, assistant coaches, all the way down to the players.
“Everyone wants to win games and we all compete day in and day out and that’s what we try to do every day and try to put that into the game-type scenarios and when we do come to Saturday, it makes it easy for us to win games.”
Saturday’s match marks the beginning of a crucial four-match home stand that will see Phoenix Rising home until they hit the road on May 20 at San Antonio FC.
“This is an important game for us, we’re 0-2, which is never a good start, but it’s still only two games,” Yallop said. “We get this result and get three out of four on this homestand and you’re sitting OK.
“The league is wide open, everybody can beat everybody, but we’ve got to make sure we come out Saturday flying and get the first goal and get the first win for us.”
“It’s important,” Watson added. “We haven’t scored in the first two games and we haven’t got a win yet. It’s going to be important to have our fans behind us and give us the confidence we need right now.
“You get one result and suddenly the flood gates open so that’s what we’re hoping for.”
For LA Galaxy II, they will be without the services of midfielder Jaime Villareal, who was suspended three games by the USL this week for offensive and abusive language in last week’s 3-0 loss to San Antonio. However, they do regain the services of defender Robert Castellanos, who had been serving a suspension.
LA Galaxy is led in goal by longtime USL keeper Jon Kempin, who has spent time with Swope Park Rangers, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City. Ethan Zubak leads the team in scoring with one goal.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP (4-4-2): GK Josh Cohen; D- Brock Granger, Jordan Stewart, Peter Rammage, Uchenna Uzo; MF- Alessandro Riggi, Matt Watson, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Luke Rooney; F-Omar Bravo, Chris Cortez.
POSSIBLE RESERVES: GK Carl Woszczynsi; D- Cody Wakasa, Victor Vasquez; MF-Blair Gavin, Jason Johnson; F- Mike Seth, Matthew Hurlow-Paonessa.