Phoenix Rising FC (5-5-3, 18 pts., 10th in West) at Orange County SC (4-4-2, 14 pts., 13th in West)
5 p.m. Saturday, Orange County Great Park, Irvine, Calif.
TV: YouTube, YurView Arizona (Cox 4, 1004 HD)
Phoenix Rising FC has a chance at some club history Saturday night when they take on Orange County SC at the Orange County Great Park.
Never in the history of the club has a team gone unbeaten in five straight contests. The club has on three separate occasions, including this most recent stretch of games (1-0-3), gone unbeaten in four straight matches.
It’s the first meeting of the season between the two teams, who have had a storied rivalry in the short history of the club. The teams have met 11 times in the past, with Phoenix Rising getting a result in seven of the 11 matches (6-4-1). Last season in the three meetings, Phoenix Rising went 2-0-1 against Orange County.
Phoenix Rising is coming off a tough 0-0 draw with Reno 1868 FC, one of the top scoring teams in the league. Josh Cohen made six saves last week, including a penalty kick save on Dane Kelly, the second leading scorer in the USL. Cohen earned USL Team of the Week honors and was second in the voting for USL Player of the Week, just getting edged out by Harrisburg’s Pedro Ribeiro.
Didier Drogba will look to add to his team-leading three goals on the season, and Shaun Wright-Phillips looks to add to his two goals on the season.
One key piece missing this week for Phoenix Rising will be head coach Patrice Carteron. Carteron was sent off at the end of the match with Reno for dissent and stalling a Reno restart in second half stoppage time. Assistant coach Rick Schantz will handle the coaching duties on the pitch Saturday, and Carteron will return July 15 at home against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
Orange County will be without its top scorer Jerry van Ewijk for this match. He was suspended five matches for his red card and violent conduct against Portland Timbers 2. Also missing will be Amirgy Pineda, who begins serving a six match suspension also for his role in the match against Portland.
Orange County will look to Duke Lacroix, Roy Meeus, Carlos Alvarez and Gustavo Villalobos to pick up the scoring while van Ewijk and Pineda are gone. USL stalwart Charlie Lyon is the netminder for Orange County, and has played in every game for Orange County this season.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI (4-4-2 Diamond)
D- Dia, Ramage, Stewart, Wakasa
MF- Watson, Wright-Phillips
F- Drogba (c), Bravo
POSSIBLE SUBS: GK-Woszczynski, D- Greer, Uzo; MF- Gavin, Hernandez, Arreola; F- Johnson