Misc Soccer News

Preview: Rising Hosts OC, Saturday at 8 PM

Phoenix Rising Looks to Gain Momentum against El Paso Locomotive FC

June 5, 2024 – United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Phoenix Rising FC News Release

Phoenix Rising FC (4-5-4) hosts Orange County SC (5-4-3) this Saturday, June 8 at 8 p.m.

A total of 13 games in, Rising is a point off the pace set by last season’s squad (4-4-5). While the offense has yet to ignite (14 GF), it is still just two goals off the pace of the 2023 team (16 GF). Rising’s defense has improved, having allowed only 14 goals compared to 17 at this point last season.

“We are much better in possession of the ball than we showed against Vegas,” said Rising head coach Danny Stone. “We need to create more moments of quality in possession when threatening the goal but also just in sustaining attacking moments. We created too many transitions against Vegas.”

Despite the lackluster performance, Rising earned a point on the road thanks to a 10-save gem by Rocco Rios Novo, who celebrated his 22nd birthday Tuesday. The clean sheet was Rios Novo’s fourth of the season, a mark he did not reach until August 12 last season. In fact, Rising’s first shutout of the 2023 season came in Orange County on May 20.

“Orange County is a consistent team,” said Stone of this weekend’s opponent. “Milan Iloski took an opportunity abroad during the offseason. He was a key player for them, one that had been there for several years, but as far as the team goes, they’re a good club, a good team again. There are a lot of similarities. They’ll once again be a difficult team to face. Across the league, I don’t see a comfortable game ever, in this league. Orange County will be a difficult opponent, same as the last few times we have faced them.”

The last time was a 2-1 overtime win in the Western Conference Semifinals.

“That was a very tight game,” said Stone looking back. “The whole squad was needed to win that game. That will also be the case on Saturday. Players came off the bench to finish the game. Those players are just as important to us now as the players that start games.”

“We need to approach this game with better energy than we did [against Las Vegas],” added Stone. “We were disappointed with the last game. We expect better performances than that. We need to make sure the team collectively give a good reaction and give a better display at home.”

Rising Captain John Stenberg was much more direct with his comments.

“Vegas is one of those days that we didn’t reach our level,” said Stenberg. “That’s how it is sometimes. You just need to battle through it and move on. Orange…

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