Tulsa Roughnecks (7-8-1, 22 pts, 8th in West) vs. Phoenix Rising FC (6-5-4, 22 pts, 9th in West)
5:30 pm, Saturday July 22, ONEOK Field
TV: Youtube, YurView Arizona (Cox 4, 1004 HD)
This Saturday’s match features two teams on the mid-season bubble. Tied in points, Rising FC and the Roughnecks split the line between the top and bottom of the Western Conference Standings, with Tulsa leading due to the total wins tiebreaker. This is the first meeting of the 2017 campaign between Phoenix Rising and Tulsa.
Tulsa is 2-2-1 in their last five games. Over 16 games, Tulsa has given up 25 goals (1.6 per game) and posted four clean sheets. Twenty-three-year-old American forward Ian Svantesson leads the team with seven goals. Svantesson has played in all 16 games, starting 12. Other players to watch for include midfielders Juan Pablo Caffa (32 years old, Argentina) and Joe Calistri (23 years old, USA) who have posted five goals each. Calistri is on loan from MLS’ Chicago Fire, where he developed through their academy and signed a Homegrown contract. Caffa leads the team in chances created and has four successful assists. Caffa was suspended for Tulsa’s recent game v LA Galaxy II for yellow card accumulation.
In goal, Phoenix Rising FC could face one of three goalkeepers Tulsa has used this season. However, likely starter Fabian Cerda (28 years old, Chile) is the most likely to take his place between the pipes. Cerda has three clean sheets to his name over ten games started. This is Cerda’s first year playing in the United States.
Tulsa has the unfortunate honor of hosting the league’s dirtiest player. Defender Francisco Ugarte (30 years old, Chile) has drawn the ire of the referee nine times this season, and has previously served a suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
Phoenix Rising FC arrives at ONEOK Field, home of the AA baseball Texas League Tulsa Drillers, riding a six game undefeated streak. Rising FC got off the schneid in its most recent game, defeating Colorado Springs after four straight draws. Week 10 Player of the Week Jason Johnson’s brace places him in a tie at the top of the team leaders sheet with four goals, sharing that lead goalscorer spot with Chelsea Legend Didier Drogba. Behind the leaders sits midfielder Luke Rooney (3 goals), who hasn’t played a game since May 13.
It remains to be seen if Rising FC midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips, the team’s leading chance creater, will play. The 35-year-old midfielder has been sidelined with what is believed to be a hamstring injury since he was subbed out in the 45th minute against Orange County SC on July 8. Also awaiting re-entry to the pitch are midfielder Alessandro Riggi and forward Chris Cortez. Riggi, who was listed as an available sub in the July 15 game against Colorado Springs, has been sidelined with a knee injury since May 13.