Phoenix Rising FC (5-5-2, 17 pts., 10th in West) at Reno 1868 FC (6-4-3, 21 pts., 6th in West)
7:30 p.m. Friday, Greater Nevada Field, Reno, Nev.
TV: YouTube, YurView Arizona (Cox 7, 1007 HD)
A month ago, Reno 1868 FC came into the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex down on its luck having not won a match and having trouble finding the back of the net.
Well, that night, both of those problems were solved as Dane Kelly scored a hat trick and Matt Bersano gave the team its first win and first clean sheet in a 4-0 win over Phoenix Rising FC.
Phoenix Rising looks to reverse that trend and get revenge for its worst loss of the season Friday night when it travels to Reno to face one of the hotter teams in the league.
Phoenix Rising is coming off an impressive 1-1 tie with Real Monarchs SLC, the top team in the USL’s Western Conference. Omar Bravo scored his first goal in USL play in the first half of the match, scoring off a brilliant play between he, Matt Watson and Didier Drogba.
Phoenix Rising is unbeaten in its last three contests, and can tie a club record with a result in Friday’s match. The club record is four matches, which has been achieved three times.
Drogba comes into the match tied for the team lead in goal scoring with three, tied with injured midfielder Luke Rooney. Defender Kody Wakasa leads the team in assists with three, and goalkeeper Josh Cohen has played in 11 of the team’s 12 matches this season, making 30 saves and conceding 18 goals in the 11 matches.
Bravo and defender J.J. Greer come into this match on four yellow cards on the season. A fifth for either of them would mean a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
Reno is coming off a week in which it lost to Real Monarchs 2-1 on June 19, but rebounded June 24 with a 2-0 win over bottom of the table Portland Timbers 2 to stay in the top half of the Western Conference standings. Reno is 6-1-1 over its last eight matches, scoring 24 goals in those matches and recording five clean sheets.
For Reno, it all starts with Kelly, the USL’s all-time leading goal scorer. Keely has found the back of the net 12 times this season, which ranks him second in the league behind Charleston’s Romario Williams. Antoine Hoppenot has been a good compliment to Kelly, as he has scored five goals and added three assists on the season.
Phoenix Rising is 1-3-1 on the road this season, while Reno is 4-1-2 at the friendly confines of Greater Nevada Field.
STARTING XI: (4-4-2 Diamond)
D- Dia, Ramage, Stewart, Wakasa
MF- Watson, Wright-Phillips, Johnson
F- Drogba, Bravo
POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTES: GK- Woszczynski; D- Greer, Uzo; MF- Gavin, Vasquez, Arreola; F- Avila