Game No. 18 Preview: Phoenix Rising FC at LA Galaxy II

ace49bf1-905b-49df-915b-aec29c1aefea-284-00000007916f753b_tmpGAME DETAILS:

Phoenix Rising FC (6-7-4, 22 pts., 11th in West) at LA Galaxy II (5-11-4, 19 pts., 13th in West)

7:30 p.m., Saturday, StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium, Carson, Calif.

TV: YouTube, YurView Arizona (Cox 4, 1004 HD in Phoenix; Cox 7, 1007 HD in Tucson)

USL Match Center

Phoenix Rising has the opportunity Saturday to sweep the season series against LA Galaxy II at the StubHub Track and Field Stadium in Carson, Calif.

Phoenix was able to sweep Los Dos in 2015, only to have the tables turned on them in 2016, with the Galaxy claiming all three matches. In the all-time series, the teams are even in series, with each team winning five times and two draws.

And its the beginning of an important three-match road trip against teams that are near them in the standings. After Saturday’s match against Los Dos, Phoenix Rising travels to Rio Grande Valley on Aug. 12 and finish the trip at Orange County on Aug. 18.

Phoenix Rising is coming off the heels of a 1-0 loss to San Antonio FC last week on a late controversial penalty awarded to San Antonio, its second straight loss in as many matches. The club sits four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently occupied by OKC Energy FC.

However, Phoenix Rising is coming into Saturday’s match as healthy as they have been all season. Midfielders Alessandro Riggi, Chris Cortez and Shaun Wright-Phillips all made returns from injuries, giving the club the speed int he middle of the field they have been missing for a majority of the middle part of the season. Only midfielder Luke Rooney remains on the sidelines, out for the season with a torn ACL.

Phoenix Rising head coach Patrice Carteron made several changes to the lineup last week, including the introduction of Jordan Gibbons back into the starting lineup at right back, replacing Kody Wakasa. Jordan Stewart also returned to his central defense position, and Amadou Dia returned to left back.

Three player for Phoenix Rising are sitting dangerously close to being suspended for yellow card accumulation. Didier Drogba, Omar Bravo and J.J. Greer are all sitting on four yellow cards, with the next one for any of the three meaning a one-game suspension.

On the other side of the ball, since getting blasted 9-0 by Reno 1868 FC on July 3, LA Galaxy has responded by going 2-0-2 in its last four matches, including a 1-0 win Wednesday night against Orange County SC. Ryo Fujii’s goal in the 57th minute was all that Los Dos needed, and Jon Kempin made a save on a Roy Meeus penalty in the 85th minute to preserve the win.

Justin Dhillon leads the team in scoring with six goals on the season, and he is closely followed by Adrian Vega with five. Dhillon, along with Ethan Zubak and Andre Ulrich Zanga are tied for the team lead in assists with two each.

POSSIBLE STARTING XI (4-4-2 Diamond)

GK- Cohen

D- Gibbons (R), Ramage (C), Stewart (C), Dia (L)

DM- Timm

MF- Avila (R),  Riggi (L)

AMF- Wright-Phillips (C)

F- Cortez (R), Drogba, c (L)

POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTES: GK- Woszczynski; D- Wakasa, Greer; MF- Gavin, Arreola; F; Johnson, Bravo