Phoenix Rising FC (3-3-0, 9 pts., 11th in West) at San Antonio FC (7-0-2, 23 pts., 1st in West)
5:30 p.m. Saturday, Toyota Field, San Antonio, Texas
TV: You Tube stream, YurView Arizona (Cox 7, 1007 HD)
Coming off a big 3-1 win over the Fresno Fuego Wednesday in the second round the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Phoenix Risng FC now has a chance to slay the giants of the Western Conference at the moment, as they take on San Antonio FC Saturday night at Toyota Field in San Antonio, the first of a three-match USL road trip.
Phoenix Rising used a substitute-filled lineup Wednesday in beating Fresno, saving most of its normal starting XI for Saturday’s match.
Goals from Kody Wakasa, Eric Avila, and Mike Seth led Phoenix to the victory, and Jason Johnson got solid minutes in the midfield filling in for Alessandro Riggi, who is out 3-5 weeks with a knee injury.
The bigger question for Phoenix Rising is who will fill the midfield role left by Luke Rooney, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. The odds here start with Miguel Timm, who looked good in his holding midfield position after Rooney came out of the match.
Will we see Didier Drogba Saturday night? If past comments by interim coach Rick Schantz are any indication, Saturday could be the first time we see Drogba on the field. It has been almost a month since he signed with Phoenix Rising, and he has been training for the past three weeks, so only time will tell at this point.
Will we see the new 4-4-1-1 formation used in last week’s win 2-1 win over Oklahoma City Energy FC? Most indications are yes we will, but the players used in the formation could be moved around a little bit.
Phoenix has to stop the reigning USL Player of the Month in San Antonio forward Billy Forbes. Forbes leads the team with six goals in the nine matches they have played this season, and the team has allowed just four goals in its nine matches, meaning Phoenix Rising may have trouble finding the back of the net.
Goals could also come from Cesar Elizondo, Rafael Castillo and USL veteran Kris Tyrpak. The most impressive stat line for San Antonio is the defensive duels and duels won, where San Antonio is winning more than 51.5 percent of their duals, which leads to their astronomical goals against in the first four matches.
Phoenix Rising will look to scratch out a draw if possible, and a win would be nothing short of phenomenal.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI