Phoenix Rising FC (15-8-7, 52 pts., 5th in West) vs. Rio Grande Valley FC (9-13-8, 35 pts., 11th in West)
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, Scottsdale
TV: YouTube, YurView Arizona (Cox 4, 1004 HD in Phoenix; Cox 7, 1007 HD in Tucson)
Fourth place could still be a reality for Phoenix Rising FC as the club welcomes Rio Grande Valley FC to the friendly confines of the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex Saturday night.
Phoenix Rising FC still has something to play for after a wild 4-3 win Wednesday night against Tulsa Roughnecks FC. Jason Johnson and Didier Drogba each recorded a brace in the game, which featured six goals between the clubs in the first 30 minutes, and an insane goal from Johnson that was the match-winner in the second half.
With some help from teams above them in the standings, Phoenix Rising could still finish in fourth and host a first round playoff game in a couple of weeks. Phoenix Rising would need to win out and hope that either Reno, Swope Park Rangers or San Antonio loses its remaining matches to get a top 4 seed.
Johnson scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season in Wednesday’s win, and is just three goals off the club record of 15 goals in a season set by Long Tan in 2015. Drogba added goals number six and seven in the victory and played his first full 90 minutes in over two months.
While Drogba may be available for selection Saturday and it is Drogba poster night, playing a full 90 minutes on Wednesday may spell a break for him on Saturday.
Rio Grande is coming in on the heels of a 2-2 draw with Swope Park Rangers last Saturday. Rio Grande ha a 2-0 lead after 64 minutes from goals by Joseph Holland and Kyle Murphy. But it was an own goal from Kevin Garcia followed by a late Kharlton Belmar equalizer that gave Swope Park an all-important draw.
Murphy leads the team in scoring with seven goals on the season, and Holland is tied for second on the team with Jose Escalante and Ruben Luna with four goals. Borja Angoitia and Calle Brown are the two main goalkeepers, with Angoitia having 14 appearances and 23 goals allowed, while Brown has allowed just seven goals in 10 appearances.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI (4-2-3-1)
D- Vasquez (L), Ramage (C), Mala (C), Wakasa (R)
DM- Gavin (L), Hamilton (R)
MF- Dia (L), Awako (C), Riggi (R)
POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTES: GK- Woszczynski; D- Stewart, Gibbons; MF- Wright-Phillips, Avila, Johnson; F- Drogba.