Phoenix Rising FC (9-7-7, 34 pts., 8th in West) at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (9-10-7, 34 pts., 7th in West)
5 p.m., Saturday, Weidner Field, Colorado Springs, Colo.
TV: YouTube, YurView Arizona (Cox 4, 1004 HD in Phoenix; Cox 7, 1007 HD in Tucson)
After a thrilling 0-0 draw on Wednesday night against Orange County SC, Phoenix Rising FC has the chance to tie or set some club records in Saturday night’s road contest against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
First, the club can set a record for being unbeaten in seven matches with a draw or a win. With a draw or a win, Phoenix Rising would also set a franchise record for points in a season. They are currently tied for the club record, set least year, with 34 points.
Jason Johnson scored two goals last time these two met on July 15, when Phoenix Rising defeated Colorado Springs 2-1, which at the time had set a club record with points in six straight matches.
New signee Gladson Awako and Jason Johnson both hit the post in the final moments of Wednesday night’s match which would have moved Phoenix Rising ahead of Colorado Springs, but Phoenix Rising was unable to find the net in earning a point against Orange County.
Head coach Patrice Carteron admitted in his post-match press conference that the players were tired from a tough match last Saturday against Seattle Sounders FC 2, and knows coming into Saturday’s match against Colorado Springs, he needs all the players on his roster to be able to pull out a result.
One new player that Carteron will be able to call on to put in the lineup is new goalkeeper John Berner. Berner was acquired on loan from MLS’ Colorado Rapids, and will be available for selection Saturday. Berner has made five appearances for the Rapids, all in 2014, and had two clean sheets in those five appearances. Berner was brought in because of a rib injury to Carl Woszczynski, who will be out 3-4 weeks, and because Josh Cohen is still nursing a hand injury he picked up over a month ago.
Johnson leads the team in scoring with seven goals, but no one on the active roster has more than three goals. Chris Cortez and Kody Wakasa have three assists each to lead the team in that category.
Colorado Springs acquired a pair of forwards from San Antonio FC in AJ Ajeakwa and Shawn Chin. Ajeakwa had three goals in 15 appearances with San Antonio, including the winner against Phoenix Rising on May 20. Chin comes in scoring three goals in 17 appearances.
But it all starts for Colorado Springs with Kevaughn Frater, who leads the team with eight goals on the season, and Mastanabal Kacher, who has seven goals on the season. Kacher and Frater also lead the team in assists with six each. And Moise Pouaty is the man between the posts for Colorado Springs, posting 79 saves and five clean sheets on the season.
Phoenix Rising is hoping to improve on its 2-4-5 record on the road, but the team is 1-1-4 under Carteron. Colorado Springs however is 6-3-3 at home, and Phoenix Rising has never earned a result when playing in Colorado Springs.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP (4-2-3-1)
D- Dia (L), Ramage (C), Stewart (C), Mala (R)
DM- Lambert (R), Gavin (L)
MF- Avila (L), Awako (C), Hamilton (R)
POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTES: GK- Berner; D- Vasquez, Wakasa; MF- Wright-Phillips, Riggi, Johnson; F- Cortez