Phoenix Rising FC (5-5-4, 19 pts., 10th in West) vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (6-6-6, 24 pts., 6th in West)
8 p.m. Saturday, Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, Scottsdale.
TV: YouTube, YurView Arizona (Cox 4, 1004 HD)
The goal is simple. To beat a team that you’ve never been able to beat before.
Four times Phoenix Rising has played Colorado Springs Switchbacks and four times Phoenix Rising has seen defeat at the hands of the Switchbacks.
And Phoenix Rising has another goal. To keep its franchise record five-match unbeaten streak in tack. A win and four straight draws have left Phoenix Rising just outside the playoff race as the team nears the halfway point of the season.
A Didier Drogba free-kick goal at the end of second-half stoppage time last week gave Phoenix Rising a 1-1 draw with Orange County SC, bringing their unbeaten string to the franchise record. Drogba was named to the bench for the USL Team of the Week for his late-match heroics.
The team has seen reinforcements come back in training over the past couple of weeks from injuries. Midfielder Alessandro Riggi has been practicing the past two weeks and could be close to a return to the pitch. The same can be said for forward Chris Cortez, coming off an injury suffered a few weeks back.
Drogba leads the team in scoring with four goals on the season in just five matches played this season. Kody Wakasa continues to lead the team with three assists.
The team has played much better under the direction of Patrice Carteron since he took over coaching duties five matches ago. He has experimented with multiple formations trying to find the right style for his club, but the defending of the team has looked much stronger in recent weeks.
For Colorado Springs, they come into the match 2-2-1 in its last five contests, including a 2-2 draw July 8 against Whitecaps 2 FC. Mastanabal Kacher leads the team with five goals on the season, while Kevaughn Frater and Jordan Burt each have four goals. Frater, Kacher and Josh Suggs lead the team in assists, each with three on the season. Moise Pouaty is the team’s main goalkeeper, allowing 23 goals in 14 matches played. Colorado Springs also has conceded the fourth most fouls in the league at 251, which could signal a physical match to come.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI (4-4-2 Diamond)
D- Dia, Rammage, Stewart, Wakasa
MF- Watson, Johnson
F- Drogba (c), Bravo
POSSIBLE RESERVES: GK-Woszczynski; D- Greer; MF- Arreola, Gavin, Avila; F- Seth