Phoenix Rising FC (3-4-0, 9 pts., 13th in West) at LA Galaxy II (2-5-2, 8 pts., 14th in West)
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Stubhub Center Track and Field Complex, Carson, Calif
TV: You Tube stream, YurView Arizona (Cox 7, 1007 HD)
It’s a big opportunity for Phoenix Rising to get the ship back on course Saturday night, when Rising FC travels to California to face its hated rival LA Galaxy II for the second time this season.
Phoenix Rising is on the second match of a three-match USL road trip, after losing the opener of the trip last Saturday 1-0 to USL Western Conference leader San Antonio FC on a 12th-minute goal by AJ Ajeakwa.
Phoenix Rising took the first matchup between the teams 2-1 on April 8 in Scottsdale, when midfielder Luke Rooney scored a pair of goals to lead Rising FC to its first victory of the season.
“You can’t take too much (of the first meeting) against the Galaxy because they have so many good players between the Galaxy II and the first team,” interim coach Rick Schantz said. “They’ve recently started playing with Bradford Jamieson and a few other guys who have come down from the first team. We know the style they play or how they like to play, but that game doesn’t mean a whole lot. We just have to be ready for the next group and perform the way we’re capable of.”
Defender Jordan Stewart talked about what the team tried to work on during this week of training.
“We’re trying to clean up on quite a few errors we made against San Antonio, ” Stewart said. “I feel we done well, just like switching off defensively in the final third to give them chances. We know we have the firepower up front to score goals, as defenders we need to keep more clean sheets.”
The focus for the club this week was finishing and work in the final third.
“It was good this week,” Schantz said. “A lot of movement, just working on dynamic runs and getting in behind a little bit to open some space. At this level you have to be willing to play multiple ways. I think against San Antonio we got a little stale. Tactics were good, the shape was good, they (San Antonio) sat a little deep on us. I don’t expect Galaxy to do that to us.
“We’ll have to be sharp defensively before we go on the attack.”
A lot of talk this week focused around the solid play of goalkeeper Josh Cohen, who has solidified his spot as the No. 1 keeper on this team.
“It’s great as a defender,” Stewart said. “A good defense always starts with the goalkeeper, and he’s pulled us out a couple of time with a couple great saves. I’ve known him when we were up in San Jose and trained with the ‘Quakes.
“He’s a great goalkeeper, he’s athletic and always talking to us as a back four, which helps.”
Last week in a 1-1 draw with Rio Grande Valley, second half sub Justin Dhillon scored in the 72nd minute to tie the game and earn Los Dos a point. However, the team will be without midfielder Alex Covarrubias, as he picked up a red card on a second yellow in the 88th minute, earning him a one-match suspension, which will be served Saturday night. Dhillon, Ethan Zubak and Adonis Amaya lead the team in scoring with two goals each. Galaxy II has used four goalkeepers on the season, with Jon Kempin seeing the most action with four matches played, and recently Clement Diop getting his first action of the USL season in the draw.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI:
D- Granger, Avila
MF- Hernandez, Gavin