Phoenix Rising FC had displayed fantastic defense during its recent road trip – even accumulating a shutout streak of 416 minutes – but Phoenix turned to their offense and outlasted the Tulsa Roughnecks 4-3 on Wednesday night in Scottsdale.
In what was an exciting game for the fans, with six goals scored in the first 30 minutes. Coach Patrice Cateron was not pleased with his team’s effort in the first half.
“As I said to the players, it is not because we are qualified for the playoffs that we must change anything in terms of spirit or attitude,” Cateron said. “In the Sacramento game, we have lost the spirit, also in the first half we have lost the spirit to work hard together, to have a fantastic sprit, so I wasn’t really happy about the first half, but it was (a fun) game for our fans.”
Despite the lackluster performance in the first half, the return of Didier Drogba paid big dividends for Phoenix as he contributed two goals, connecting on a header and penalty kick.
Drogba played all 90 minutes in his return and said it felt good to be back.
“It feels good to score, but we concede three,” he said. “It’s a bit normal because the (guys) have given a lot the last two to three weeks, the attention has dropped a little bit, but I think we are going to be ready when the playoffs start. It’s good to come back from two-nil to 4-3.
“The plan was to go one hour, but I felt good.”
Drogba led the way for the Rising, but Jason Johnson was a pivotal factor as well, scoring two goals, including the game-winner in the 66th minute.
Phoenix Rising has two games remaining before the playoffs start, and they continue there homestand on Saturday, Oct. 7 against Rio Grande Valley at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 30, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC fell 2-0 to host Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday night in the final road game of the season.
Sacramento’s first goal in the 49th minute ended a shutout streak of 416 minutes for Phoenix.
The loss also ended an 11-match unbeaten streak.
Rising FC will return home Wednesday to play host to Tulsa Roughnecks FC, the start of a three-game home stand to end the regular season.
USL playoff schedule
Conference quarterfinals, Oct. 20-22.
Semifinals, Oct. 27-29.
Conference final, Nov. 3-5.
USL Cup Final, Nov. 10-12.
Phoenix Rising FC 2017 schedule
Wednesday, Oct. 4
Tulsa Roughnecks FC, 7 p.m.
Note: Fans can purchase select beers for just $1. Students with any valid college ID will get free admission.
Saturday, Oct. 7
Rio Grande Valley FC, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 14
Portland Timbers 2, 8 p.m.
Phoenix Rising FC 2017 results
Saturday, March 25
Toronto FC II 1, Rising 0
Saturday, April 1
Real Monarchs 2, Rising 0
Saturday, April 8
Rising 2, LA Galaxy II 1
Sunday, April 23
Rising 4, Swope Park Rangers 3
Saturday, May 6
Reno 1868 FC 4, Rising 0
Saturday, May 13
Rising 2, OKC Energy FC 1
Saturday, May 20
San Antonio FC 1, Rising 0
Saturday, May 27
Rising 2, LA Galaxy II 1
Tuesday, June 6
OKC Energy FC 3, Rising 2
Saturday, June 10
Rising 2, Whitecaps FC2 1
Sunday, June 18
Rising 2, Swope Park Rangers, 2
Saturday, June 24
Rising 1, Real Monarchs SLC 1
Friday, June 30
Rising 0, Reno 1868 0
Saturday, July 8
Rising 1, Orange County Soccer Club 1
Saturday, July 15
Rising 2, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 1
Saturday, July 22
Rising 0, Tulsa Roughnecks FC 3
Saturday, July 29
San Antonino FC 1, Rising 0
Saturday, August 5
Rising 2, LA Galaxy II 0
Saturday, August 12
Rising 1, Rio Grande Valley 1
Friday, August 18
Rising 1, Orange County 1
Saturday, August 26
Rising 3, Sacramento Rebublic FC 1
Saturday, Sept. 2
Rising 2, Sounders 0
Wednesday, Sept. 6
Rising 0, Orange County 0
Saturday, Sept. 9
Rising 2, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 1
Saturday, Sept. 16
Risign 2, Real Monarchs SLC 0
Wednesday, Sept. 20
Rising 1, Seattle Sounders FC 2 0
Sunday, Sept. 24
Rising 4, Whitecaps FC 2 0
Wednesday, Sept. 27
Rising, 2, Portland Timbers 2 0
Saturday, Sept. 30
Sacramento Rebublic FC 2, Rising 0
Rising clinch playoff spot
Sept. 28, 2017
Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jason Johnson scored to lift Phoenix Rising FC to a 2-0 win over host Portland Timbers 2 to clinch a playoff spot for the first time in franchise history Wednesday night.
The Rising joined the USL four years ago.
The club is now on an 11-match unbeaten streak and will look to improve its positioning Saturday against Sacramento Republic FC before returning home for the season’s final three matches.
Rising FC has now posted five straight wins and four straight shutouts.
The Rising are 10-2-7 since the hiring of head coach Patrice Carteron.
Rising aim to clinch playoff spot
Phoenix Rising FC can clinch its first-ever playoff spot with a win on Wednesday at Portland Timbers 2.
The team is riding a ten-match unbeaten streak and has shot up the Western Conference standings over the last two months.
With five matches left in the regular season, Rising FC have 27 points and are in fifth in the Western Conference standings in the USL, five points back of Swope Park and six points behind San Antonio. The top eight make the post season.
Since Patrice Carteron took over as head coach on May 22, Rising FC have lost just two of its 18 matches (9-2-7). Its last loss was July 29.
The Club has also won a franchise-best four in a row, with three straight shutouts.
Rising extend club-record win streak
Sept. 24, 2017
Allesandro Riggi scored a goal and had two assists leading Phoenix Rising FC to a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Sunday in Vancouver.
The club has now won four straight, posted three straight shutouts and extended its unbeaten streak to 10 matches.
Riggi’s goal came just six minutes into action, and two minutes after assisting Jason Johnson on the game’s first goal. Chris Cortez and Gladson Awako also scored for the Rising.
Phoenix has moved into fifth place in the USL Western Conference standings. They are five points behind fourth-place Swope Park Rangers.
With five games to go, the Rising still have a statistical chance at securing a home playoff game.
Rising continue road trip north of border
Sept. 23, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC continues its four-game road trip through the Pacific Northwest when it leaves the country to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 for a 3 p.m. match Sunday.
Fans can watch the match live locally on YurView Arizona Cox Channels 4 & 1004 (Phoenix) or 7 & 1007 (Tucson). Fans can also head to the club’s official watch party at the Thirsty Lion in Tempe Marketplace or watch online at PHXRisingFC.com.
Rising FC will head to Canada on a roll, having won its last three matches and going unbeaten over its last nine overall. The club has never won four straight matches in USL play.
Phoenix Rising most recently overcame Seattle Sounders FC 2 in a 1-0 victory thanks to a 44th-minute goal from midfielder Alessandro Riggi. Goalkeeper Josh Cohen was in net for Rising FC to earn the shutout, clinching the club a fourth clean sheet in its last five matches.
Phoenix Rising FC extend unbeaten streak to nine games
Sept. 20, 2017
Alessandro Riggi scored a first-half goal to lift Phoenix Rising FC to a 1-0 win over host Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Wednesday night.
The Rising are now riding a nine-match unbeaten streak. The club also matched its franchise mark with three straight victories.
Perhaps most significantly, the Rising are now in fifth place in the Western Conference standings, one point ahead of Sacramento and five points back of Swope Park.
Phoenix Rising improve to 12-7-7, while Seattle drops to 9-16-4.
The Rising’s four-game road trip continues Sunday at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.
Rising out to add to unbeaten streak
Sept. 19, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC, riding a team-record eight-match unbeaten streak, heads to Seattle on Wednesday, the first of four straight road games.
The Rising has outscored its opponents 13-4 during its recent stretch, including three shutouts in the last four outings.
Wednesday’s game against the Seattle Sounders FC 2 starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be live on YurView Arizona Cox Channels 4 and 1004 in Phoenix or 7 and 1007 in Tucson.
The Rising, whose next home game is Oct. 4, is seventh in the Western Conference standings. The top eight make the postseason.
Phoenix Rising FC takes down Real Monarchs SLC
Sept. 16, 2017
Jason Johnson and Sam Hamilton scored goals for Phoenix Rising FC in Saturday night’s 2-0 win over Real Monarchs SLC in Scottsdale. Phoenix will next travel to face Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Wednesday.
Rising out to improve playoff seeding
Sept. 15, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC looks to improve its playoff positioning when it hosts Real Monarchs SLC at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Phoenix Rising is riding a seven-match unbeaten streak, a run that has moved Rising up to seventh in the Western Conference standings.
The top eight in each conference make the United Soccer League playoffs.
The first 2,000 fans who come to Saturday’s match will get a $10 gift card to Kona Grill.
Phoenix Rising FC tops Colorado Springs with late goal
Sept. 9, 2017
A.J. Gray scored a tie-breaking goal in the 86th minute to lift Phoenix Rising FC (10-7-7) to a 2-1 win over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday.
The Rising’s unbeaten streak is now seven matches, a franchise best. It now has 37 points this season, as it continues to build on the team’s single-season mark.
Phoenix Rising will play host to Real Monarchs SLC next Saturday at 7:30 p.m., which will be followed by four straight road games.
Rising aiming for franchise mark
Sept. 8, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC has its sights on a pair of franchise marks on Saturday when it faces the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at 5 p.m.
If the Rising win or earn a draw, the club would break the all-time point total for a season. The current mark is 34, set by last year’s squad.
The Rising can also run its unbeaten streak to seven. The Rising matched the club mark of six after a 0-0 draw with Orange County SC on Wednesday.
The Rising is on the road for the first time in three weeks and next plays a home game on Sept. 16 against Real Monarchs SLC.
Phoenix Rising FC runs unbeaten streak to six matches
Sept. 6, 2017
The unbeaten streak for the Phoenix Rising FC is now six matches, although the club didn’t score in Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with Orange County SC at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex.
The unbeaten streak does match a club record set earlier this season. The Rising’s best chance to clinch a third straight win came in the 89th minute when forward Gladson Awako, making in his club debut, drove past his defender and directed an AJ Gray cross that smacked the near right post.
The Rising’s next match is Saturday at Colorado Springs against the Switchbacks FC at 5 p.m. and can be seen live on YurView Arizona Cox (Channels 4 and 1004 (HD) in Phoenix, as well as Channels 7 and 1007 (HD) in Tucson.
Rising looks to complete perfect homestand
Sept. 5, 2017
Even with Didier Drogba out with injury, Phoenix Rising FC is playing its best soccer of the season. Unbeaten in its past five games, Rising FC will look to complete a perfect homestand against Orange County SC at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in Scottsdale on Wednesday.
When Phoenix began its current three-match home swing, Rising FC was six points out of playoff position in the Western Conference. But Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Seattle Sounders 2 saw it jump two spots to the eighth and final playoff spot.
In each of its past two contests as well as its previous three wins, Rising FC has won by at least two goals. Prior to the club’s current five-match unbeaten streak, Phoenix had not secured a victory by a margin greater than one goal all season. Since the arrival of Drogba and head coach Patrice Carteron in early June, the Rising are 5-2-6.
Goalkeeper Josh Cohen was named to the USL Team of the Week after posting a shutout on Saturday that included a highlight-reel save in stoppage time when the Rising had just a one-goal lead. Forward Jason Johnson has scored in each of the team’s last two contests and has a team-leading seven goals on the season.
Orange County enters the match losers of two straight and on the heels of a winless month of August. Two weeks ago, OC was in playoff position – but is a dismal 0-4-4 in its past eight contests. Orange County has allowed five goals in its past two contests and now occupies the No. 11 position.
This is the third and final meeting between the two teams, who each have earned a draw in previous matches this season.
The match is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at phxrisingfc.com, and fans can also watch either on YurView Arizona Cox Channels 4 & 1004 (Phoenix), 7 & 1007 (Tucson) or on the team’s website.
Rising climbs to final playoff spot with win
Sept. 2, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC extended its unbeaten streak to a fifth straight match with a 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC 2 in Scottsdale on Saturday.
Phoenix midfielder Amadou Dia broke open a scoreless game in the 78th minute with a header, and forward Jason Johnson sealed the win by beating Seattle’s goalkeeper outside of the box before walking the ball in four minutes into stoppage time.
The Rising now sit in the eighth and final playoff spot with 33 points.
Phoenix Rising FC hosts Seattle
Sept. 1, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC hosts Seattle on Saturday night riding a four-match unbeaten streak, including a 3-1 win over Sacramento a week ago.
The Rising are 9th in the Western Conference standings, three points out of the 8th spot.
Seattle has allowed a league-worst 50 goals this season.
The match is set to start at 7:30 p.m. at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex.
Fans can also watch the match live on YurView Arizona Cox Channel 7 or online at www.PHXRisingFC.com.
Anti-Nazi banner removed from Phoenix Rising match vs. Sacramento Republic
Aug. 28, 2017
The Phoenix Rising soccer team found itself in the middle of the nation’s growing racism discussion over the weekend.
On Saturday, the team asked for a banner with a crossed-out Swastika to be removed from its match against Sacramento Republic.
Los Bandidos, a group that supports the club, had the banner to help “stop racism.” Members of the club walked out of the match after the banner was removed.
The Rising issued the following statement after the incident Saturday:
“Last night, in order to comply with USL stadium regulations and Phoenix Rising Football Club safety policies, our front office asked a Supporters’ Group, Los Bandidos, to remove a banner displaying a crossed-out Swastika. Although the purpose of the banner was to “Stop Racism,” which is permitted as a message in our stadium, baiting artwork, such as a crossed-out Swastika, invites the most disgusting element in our society to deliver a thugglish rejoinder which has no place in our stadium.
“Phoenix Rising FC did not intend for our friends from Los Bandidos to leave our stadium, and apologize if our communications during the match did not properly demonstrate our respect and appreciation for its members. In fact, Phoenix Rising FC fully and unequivocally, supports the “Stop Racism” sentiment of the banner and believes all people should be treated equally and with love.”Phoenix Rising Football Club strongly denounces the heinous actions we’ve seen perpetrated by hate groups in the United States in recent weeks and we want to be clear with our fans of all races and backgrounds that we fully stand with them.”
Rising FC opens homestand with win over Sacramento
Aug. 26, 2017
Returning home with just one victory in their last five matches, three different players scored to give Phoenix Rising FC a 3-1 victory over Sacramento Republic FC to open a three-match home swing at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex on Saturday.
With the win, the Rising (8-7-6, 30 points) jump two spots in the Western Conference standings and are now trail by three points for the eighth and final playoff spot. Sacramento (10-8-5, 35 points) remains in the No. 5 position but holds just a two-point lead over the Nos. 6, 7 and 8 teams — all of whom are tied with 33 points.
“We need points if we want to be ready for the battle of the playoffs,” coach Patrice Carteron said. “So it was very important for us to start this home swing off by getting three points from a very good team in Sacramento.”
It took Phoenix just nine minutes to draw first blood when Shaun Wright-Phillips set up Chris Cortez for a header that beat Republic goalkeeper Evan Newton to open the scoring.
“Excellent delivery, it made my life really easy,” Cortez said. “All I had to do was glance the header in.”
The Rising would take a 1-0 lead into the break before Cortez went back-and-forth with Jason Johnson, who scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season in the 48th minute to give Phoenix a two-goal lead.
But Sacramento would begin to pressure the Phoenix defense, and Trevin Caesar collected a friendly rebound and shot one past Rising goalkeeper Carl Wosczynski to cut the lead in half.
However, it took just two minutes for Cortez to manufacture another play, notching his third assist of the night on a header finish by Ramage for a two-goal lead in the 52nd minute that gave the Rising a statement win at home.
“For us it was really important to set the tone and also set the tone at home,” Cortez said. “I think we’ve done really well in that regard, and I thought today was another great example of that.”
The Rising will host the second contest of a three-match homestand on Sept. 2 against the Seattle Sounders FC 2.
Aug. 24, 2017
After going unbeaten on a three-match road swing (1-0-2), the Rising return home for a conference bout with Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday at 8 p.m.
In their most recent match with Orange County SC, the Rising again relinquished a late goal and settled for a draw on the road — a result that has become a habit for Phoenix.
Despite having just one victory in their past five matches, the Rising are still just two points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Phoenix is currently tied for 11th with 27 points.
Sacramento (10-7-5) currently occupies the No. 5 position in the conference with 35 points on the season. Forward Trevin Caesar leads the Republic with six goals, while teammates Tyler Blackwood and Sammy Ochoa have five apiece.
For the Rising, forwards Dider Drogba and Jason Johnson each have five goals to share the team lead.
The Rising and Republic will meet for the first this season in Arizona, with the second and final match of the season series taking place at Papa Murphy’s Park in Sacramento on Sept. 30.
Fans can join the club for its official watch party at the Thirsty Lion Gastropub and Grill in Tempe Marketplace, or watch online at phxirisngfc.com.
Sacramento Republic FC at Phoenix Rising
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex.
TV: YurView Arizona Cox (Channels 4 and 1004 (HD) in Phoenix, as well as Channels 7 and 1007 (HD) in Tucson).
Aug. 18, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC played down a man for 45 minutes and lost a one-goal lead in the 89th minute to settle for a 1-1 draw with Orange County Soccer Club on Friday night in Irvine, Calif.
A.J. Gray drew a red card just before halftime to force Rising to play short-handed. Chris Cortez scored the lone goal for Phoenix.
Rising look to keep unbeaten streak going
Aug. 17, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC looks to cap an unbeaten road trip when the club travels to face Orange County SC on Friday at Champion Stadium in Irvine, Calif.
A three-match road swing comes to an end in a pivotal bout with OC, which currently sits two points ahead of Phoenix in the Western Conference playoff race. Orange County (28 points) is one point out of the eighth and final playoff position, while the Rising (26 points) occupy the No. 11 spot.
Despite going unbeaten on the trip, Phoenix has endured some tough-luck losses in recent weeks. On July 29, they dropped a home contest to San Antonio FC by way of a penalty kick. And against Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, the Rising relinquished a 1-0 lead and settled for a draw after a stoppage time goal.
Forwards Didier Drogba and Jason Johnson share the team lead with five goals for the Rising. The 39-year-old Drogba has played in just nine of the Rising’s 19 games this season after the former Chelsea star joined the Rising as a player and part-owner midway through the season.
In the last meeting between the teams, Drogba connected on a free kick in stoppage time to give the Rising a 1-1 draw. The team’s will play the third and final match of the season series on September 6 at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex.
Orange County has collected draws in three of its last five contests, including a 0-0 stalemate against Tulsa Roughnecks FC last weekend. Goalkeeper Charlie Lyon has started each match for OC and has recorded a shutout on five occasions.
Set for kickoff at 7:30 p.m., the match will be broadcast locally on YurView Arizona Cox Channels 4 and 1004 (HD) in Phoenix — as well as Channels 7 and 1007 (HD) in Tucson.
Fans can also join the club for its official watch party at the Thirsty Lion Gastropub and Grill in Tempe Marketplace, or watch online at phxirisngfc.com.
Rising ties Rio Grande Valley
Aug. 12, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC settled for a 1-1 draw after allowing a game-tying goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time to Rio Grande Valley FC in Edinburg, Texas, on Saturday.
Jason Johnson scored the Rising’s lone goal on a penalty kick in the 41st minute after a hand-ball penalty was called in the box on Rio Grande Valley.
Phoenix continues its road trip against Orange County on Friday in Irvine, Calif.
Rising seeks second straight win
Aug. 11, 2017
In the midst of a three-match road swing, Phoenix Rising FC will look for its second straight victory when the team visits the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros in Edinburg, Texas, on Saturday.
After a crushing loss to San Antonio FC at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex on July 29, the Rising rebounded to defeat the L.A. Galaxy II, 2-0, in Los Angeles on Saturday. Didier Drogba scored a highlight-reel goal in the win.
Drogba, who leads the team with five goals, will look to help improve a Phoenix offense that ranks 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference against a Toros defense that has allowed the sixth-most goals in the conference.
Rising forward Jason Johnson has four goals on the season and midfielder Luke Rooney slots in with three. Goalkeeper Josh Cohen ranks 12th in the conference with 46 saves.
Forward Kyle Murphy, who is tied for the Toros’ team lead with four goals, was selected to the USL Team of the Week after his two-goal performance on the team’s most recent road trip. Forward Ruben Luna also has four goals for Rio Grande Valley.
The Rising (7-7-4) are 2-2-1 in their past five contests and sit five points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference standings. Rio Grande Valley (7-10-4) is one spot behind Phoenix.
The Toros have just one victory in their past seven contests and have not won at home since June 10.
Drogba, Rising FC shut out Galaxy II
Phoenix Rising FC reached its low point of the season last Saturday at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, when a controversial penalty call resulted in a Rising loss and sent fans into a frenzy in which they pelted the field with debris.
It meant the Rising would travel to Los Angeles with a two-match losing streak before facing the Galaxy II at Stubhub Center Track in Carson, Calif.
But Phoenix wasted little time dwelling on last week’s loss to San Antonio, building an early lead and not looking back as the Rising shut out the Galaxy II, 2-0, on Saturday.
In the 13th minute, forward Didier Drogba rifled a free kick past the Los Angeles goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead.
Just before the half, midfielder Alessandro Riggi would make it 2-0 in his first game back after suffering a knee injury in May. That was all the offense Phoenix would need.
Rising goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski posted a shutout in the victory. Phoenix moves to 7-7-4 (25 points) and are now just one point out of a playoff spot behind Orange County and Tulsa in the Western Conference.
The Rising will travel to Rio Grande Valley FC next Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Rising FC travels to Los Angeles
August 4, 2017
The Rising will look to snap their two-game losing streak on Saturday when they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Galaxy II at 7:30 p.m. at Stubhub Center Track in Carson, Calif. Phoenix is coming off losses to Tulsa 3-0, and San Antonio 1-0, to bring its record to 6-7-4, good for 22 points. The Rising sit three spots and four points out of the final playoff spot in the West.
Los Angeles is No. 13 in the West, two spots below Phoenix with 19 points, despite having played three more games. It hasn’t lost since July 3, with two wins and two draws since then. Justin Dhillon leads the team with six goals.
Didier Drogba and Jason Johnson lead the Rising with four goals each.
Penalty call dooms Rising, enrages fans
July 29, 2017
On a humid night at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, drama on the playing field did not make the 5,463 fans in attendance any more comfortable Saturday night.
Playing in a scoreless tie in the 83rd minute, San Antonio FC forward Cesar Elizando ran headlong into Phoenix Rising FC goalkeeper Josh Cohen and was awarded a penalty kick.
But before San Antonio midfielder Rafa Castillo could attempt to take the kick, fans began throwing various objects onto the field as Cohen and his teammates argued the call. Two minutes later, Castillo finally stepped to the ball and gave San Antonio a 1-0 road victory over the Rising.
In an all-around ugly night for the Rising and its fans, the game featured a total of 10 yellow cards, five for each team. There was pushing and shoving throughout the game, and tempers finally boiled over after the penalty kick.
“It’s definitely rough,” Cohen said. “I saw a good ball come in, so I came out and set my feet, but he came in with his cleat to kind of knock it out of the air. He came in knee first and went right into my chest. I’m not sure what else I could have done there.”
Still, the Rising (6-7-4) had a number of good offensive chances. Forward Didier Drogba, who is also a part-owner of the team, registered a pair of shots on goal in the first 15 minutes of play and just missed a free kick against San Antonio goalkeeper Diego Restropo in the 90th minute.
After San Antonio (11-1-7) took the lead, fans continued to rain down boos and pelt the field with debris. On the ensuing possession after the goal, one San Antonio player was hit by what appeared to be a bottle thrown from the stands.
“I can understand (the frustration),” Rising coach Patrice Carteron said. “We really deserved at least a draw tonight. I don’t want to stand here and argue the penalty. The game is over.”
Prior to last week’s loss against Tulsa Roughnecks FC, the Rising had been unbeaten in their last six contests (2-0-4). The Rising drop to 1-3-1 all-time vs. San Antonio, with the only win coming in Phoenix.
The Rising had a chance last week to vault into playoff position in the Western Conference, but two straight defeats have put them in 11th place, three points behind the eighth and final playoff position.
In a contest that featured a number of chances for Phoenix to break a scoreless tie, drama would brew throughout the match and eventually turn into a night to forget for the Rising.
“Late in the game like that, especially when we have momentum going our way, it’s really tough,” Cohen said. “There’s frustration on the field but there’s definitely frustration with the fans.”
Rising look to regroup vs. San Antonio FC
July 26, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC lost for the first time under head coach Patrice Carteron and fell to 6-6-4 on the season with a loss to host Tulsa Roughnecks FC last weekend, but on Saturday the club will look to regain its footing in a playoff race when the Rising play host to San Antonio FC.
The match starts at 8 p.m. at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex.
The Rising have lost just the one match in six contests since the arrival of both Carteron and Didier Drogba, who had an injury scare in Tulsa but returned to the game later.
Drogba and Jason Johnson lead the team with four goals apiece, and Luke Rooney ranks second with three tallies this season. Josh Cohen leads Phoenix in net, having saved 45 of 68 shots against him (66.2 percent) in 2017.
Rising lose for first time under Carteron
July 22, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC got an injury scare from Didier Drogba in a 3-0 loss to host Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Saturday night. Drogba went down on the pitch in the 75th minute, but he returned without incident as Rising FC (6-6-4) suffered the first loss under new coach Patrice Carteron.
July 21, 2017
Phoenix Rising FC heads back out on the road this weekend looking to extend their club-record six-match unbeaten streak against Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Rising FC (6-5-4) have yet to lose under head coach Patrice Carteron and are coming off a come-from-behind victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC last Saturday.
Report: Phoenix Rising may be ahead of others in race for stadium, MLS bid
July 18, 2017
From Andrew Vailliencourt
The Phoenix Rising FC ownership group may be further along with plans for a stadium than any of the other 11 cities competing for one of four Major League Soccer expansion slots, Kyle Kepner of soccernation.com reports.
Kepner also reports that team officials met with seven different architects in Kansas City, where MLS officials were present. It is from those seven that the Rising will pick from.
MLS is set to announce the next two expansion teams for the league by the end of 2017, and Phoenix is suddenly in a strong position since many of the other cities are struggling with finalizing stadium plans. Phoenix is one of 12 cities that submitted a bid at the beginning of this year.
Other cities in play for the four MLS expansion spots are San Antonio, San Diego, Detroit, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Raleigh/Durham, N.C., Charlotte, N.C., Sacramento, Calif., Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., and Indianapolis.
The Rising, according to the soccernation.com report, has also been working on a way to control the climate without needing to build a dome, which would be very costly. Team officials are confident that the new stadium will accomplish this and be state-of-the-art.
The proposed stadium would be built on the plot of land where the team currently plays. The Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex is on the southwest section of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, near both Tempe and Scottsdale.
Renderings of the new stadium will be made public after a decision has been made.
Follow Andrew Vailliencourt on Twitter: @AndrewVcourt
Drogba talks about the Rising’s win over the Switchbacks on Saturday night.
Jason Johnson powers Phoenix Rising to win against Colorado Springs
July 15, 2017
Jason Johnson was ready.
The forward who came into the match as a substitute at halftime, waited in the center of the box as Didier Drogba lined up the corner kick in the 84th minute. He drilled a low line drive right towards Johnson who leaped up and headed the ball into the net for the goal.
It was Johnson’s second of the night, who led the Phoenix Rising comeback against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. The Rising won 2-1 and improved to 6-5-4 on the season with 22 points.
“ (Coach) Patrice (Carteron) wants us to win every game, and that’s the mentality we need to have,” Drogba said. “We cannot win every time, but at least you have to give everything and that’s what we have been doing.”
After struggling mightily in the first half, the Rising offense picked up in the middle of the second half.
“I would like my players to be more active from the start of the game,” Carteron said.
In the 64th minute Eric Avila had a clear look but shot it just over the crossbar. Just two minutes later, though, Johnson scored his first of the contest.
Victor Vasquez dribbled up the left side of the field and hit a cross into the box. Omar Bravo was there, but the ball deflected off him and straight towards Colorado Springs keeper Moise Poutay.
However, the pouring rain left the ball slippery, and Poutay couldn’t take hold of the ball, leaving just enough time for Johnson to streak in and put it in the back of the net.
“Being down a goal at home is never a good thing, so your main (objective as a sub) is to lift the team energy,” Johnson said. “It’s something you can’t see, but when you give, you feel it. I was happy to do that for the team tonight.”
The goal equalized the match at one in the 66th minute.
“The team has improved,” Drogba said. “Before, when we gave up that goal, we would have lost that game. We have the spirit to come back. We have a team of young guys full of energy and you saw that today with a desire to win here at home.”
Phoenix dominated time of possession, yet played a very poor first half, not able to generate much offense and allowing Colorado Springs to score in the 12th minute on a shot by Kevaughn Frater.
The Rising have not lost since Drogba or Carteron joined the team, going 2-0-4 in the last six games.
“My philosophy in football is that there are three more important things (than the fans),” Carteron said. “One: the result, two: the result, three: the result. If you use every day to win, you like to win in training then you’ll win the day of the game. That’s part of the thing I want our fans to feel is that we are fighting every time to give them the three points.”
Rising waste time-of-possession advantage in first half
Despite holding possession of the ball for over 67 percent of the first half, the Rising were unable to score a goal. Phoenix really never even got any quality scoring chances.
The Rising had just three first half shots, only one of which was on target and that came in the final minutes of the half.
Meanwhile, the Switchbacks took advantage of their limited opportunities. They scored once in the first half on a Kevaughn Frater bullet in the 12th minute. They held the ball for only 32.2 percent of the half.
Colorado Springs had five shots, two on target and one corner kick in the half.
Next up for the Rising is a trip to Oklahoma where they will take on the Tulsa Roughnecks FC at Oneok Field.
The Roughnecks are 7-8-1 with 22 points overall. They currently hold the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. In their most recent match, Tulsa tied the Los Angeles Galaxy II 2-2.
Follow Andrew Vailliencourt on Twitter: @AndrewVcourt
July 14, 2017
The boost that Didier Drogba has given Phoenix Rising FC has been unmeasurable. That is, if you don’t count the five-match unbeaten streak.
Since the arrival of Drogba, who is also a part-owner of the team, and new head coach Patrice Carteron, the Rising (5-5-4) have quickly climbed the USL Western Conference standings. Phoenix now sits just two games out of playoff position.
The Rising will host Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex on Saturday at 8 p.m. This is the first meeting between the sides this season.
Colorado Springs (6-6-4) occupy the sixth position in the conference and have played four more games than the Rising. The Switchbacks are coming off a 2-2 home draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.
The Rising have collected draws in four straight matches in the five contests since the introduction of Drogba and Carterton. The first match was a 2-1 win over the Whitecaps at Phoenix.
While the two clubs possess potent offensive threats, both the Rising and Switchbacks boast two of the league’s top goalkeepers. Phoenix net minder Josh Cohen has yielded just one goal in his last five contests, and places third the Western Conference in saves with 38.
Drogba leads the Rising in goals (4) and shots (24), despite having only played in just over a third of the team’s contests. Luke Rooney is second on the team with three goals this season.
Colorado Springs’ goalkeeper Moise Poutay has recorded four shutouts this season and collected 51 saves, marks that rank third- and second-best, respectively, in the conference.
The Switchbacks own one of the more balanced attacks in the USL, with midfielder Masta Kacher leading the team with five goals — but forward Kevaughn Frater and defender Jordan Burt are not far behind with four goals apiece.
The two teams have met four times in league history, with all four decisions resulting in a loss for Phoenix. Last season, Colorado Springs made the trip and knocked off the Rising, 3-1, in their only meeting of 2016. The Switchbacks are the only franchise from which the Rising have not collected a point.
Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. and the first 1,000 fans will receive a free Italian ice from Angelo’s Italian Ice & Gelato.
– Richard Morin
Drogba scores late to secure draw
Didier Drogba scored in stoppage time to give Phoenix Rising FC a point following a 1-1 tie with Orange County SC on Saturday night in Irvine, Calif.
Phoenix Rising FC returns to Arizona on July 15 to take on Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. The match is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
Rising plays to scoreless draw
Phoenix Rising FC matched a franchise-record-long unbeaten streak of four after playing to a 0-0 draw with Reno 1868 FC on Friday night in Nevada.
Phoenix Rising ties Real Monarchs SLC
In a game that was delayed due to heat concerns, Phoenix Rising FC used sweltering temperatures to cool off the hottest team in the United Soccer League.
It took just a goal to tie the first-place Real Monarchs SLC, 1-1, at Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex on Saturday — snapping the Monarchs’ league-record nine-match win streak.
“We really wanted to beat the leader,” Rising head coach Peter Carteron said. “Definitely we are thankful of the point today against a team just beat the record with nine games won consecutively. I’m proud of what we did today.”
Rising forward Omar Bravo collected a pass from midfielder Matt Watson and served one past Monarchs goalkeeper Connor Sparrow to even the score in the 45th minute.
The Monarchs drew first blood in the 12th minute, when midfielder Daniel Haber beat Rising goalkeeper Josh Cohen. Phoenix had several chances in the first half but could not execute until Bravo’s tally right before the break.
Phoenix (5-5-2) collected its second straight draw with the result, as neither the first-place Monarchs (12-1-1) nor Phoenix could break through in the second half.
“We’re at home, we’re always trying to get after team and get wins, especially at home,” Cohen said. “But coming away with a point against a Monarchs side that’s won nine straight games is definitely not a bad result.”
Rising forward Didier Drogba, who is also a part owner of the team, had multiple scoring chances in the first half. In the 23rd minute, the former Chelsea star fired just wide on a 35-foot penalty shot.
After going down with what appeared to be a non-contact injury 10 minutes later, Drogba reentered the game and just missed on a close-range header attempt on Sparrow.
Phoenix’s best scoring chance in the second half came in the 86th minute when Drogba didn’t get all of his header attempt and was again denied by Sparrow. In stoppage time, midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips laid up a corner kick that was whiffed on by forward Jason Johnson.
The announced attendance was 6,365, Phoenix’s second straight USL sellout at their home stadium.
Carterton said that because his team trains in the Valley every day, home field advantage gives his team an extra edge during excessively warm days.
“It’s definitely an advantage for us,” Cohen said. “And it’s something that we look forward to keeping on using throughout the summer months.”
Swope Park preview
June 23, 2017
Didier Drogba and Phoenix Rising FC have a tall order this Saturday when the team hosts Real Monarchs SLC, the Western Conference leader currently riding a league-record nine-match win streak.
The Rising (5-5-1) come into the match on the heels of a 2-2 draw on the road against the Swope Park Rangers on Sunday. Twice tying the match, Drogba, who made his debut with the team on June 10, connected on a penalty kick in the final moments of the contest to help the Rising stay unbeaten all-time against the Rangers.
The 39-year-old Drogba, who is also a part owner of the team, notched a goal and assist for the rising in his first appearance against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The former Chelsea standout said it was difficult for him to play the entire match in his debut, but with a pair of goals on Sunday it appears the cobwebs are quickly clearing.
Drogba has assisted on all four of the team’s goals (3 goals, 1 assist) in just two matches with the club, and joins Luke Rooney for the team lead in scoring. Jason Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips have two goals apiece. Kody Wakasa leads the club with three assists and Omar Bravo has two. Seven other players are tied for third with one helper this season.
The Rising — which has won its last two contests — lost to the Monarchs, 2-0, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah on April 1. But the conference front runners lead the league with 32 goals and are the only team with two top-10 goal scorers (Chandler Hoffman 8, Sebastian Velazquez 6).
The Monarchs (12-1-0) are 5-1-0 on the road this season and have a perfect 7-0-0 mark at home.
The club broke the USL record for consecutive wins at home on Monday with a 2-1 victory against Reno 1868 behind goals from Taylor Peay and Andrew Brody. The Monarchs have seen 13 different players score this season, and have had 11 contests with multiple goals — by far the most balanced attack in the league.
Also with five shutouts this season, the Monarchs boast one of the league’s stingiest defenses having allowed just three goals in their last 674 minutes played.
Start time changed due to heat
Kickoff at Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex was originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m., but was pushed back to 8 to alleviate concerns about the heat. Additionally, the team is offering free bottles of water to the first 4,000 fans as well as celebratory bandanas.
Saturday’s high is expected to be 114 degrees and it will be about 108 when the game starts.
The stadium is equipped with multiple cooling stations as well as night-long drink specials.
For more information and to purchase tickets, go to phxrisingfc.com.
Didier Drogba scores late goal to give Rising a draw
June 18, 2017
by Andrew Vailliencourt, azcentral sports
Phoenix Rising FC leaned on a Didier Drogba penalty kick to earn a 2-2 draw against Swope Park Rangers on the road Sunday. The club is now 5-5-1 and remains unbeaten all-time against Swope Park. The Rangers are now 5-4-2.
Phoenix Rising FC trailed by a goal going into the final moments of the match. But forward Omar Bravo drew a foul in the box and a penalty kick. Drogba stepped up to the spot and struck a near perfect shot into the left side netting to equalize 2-2.
It was the second time Drogba tied the match. With the club down 1-0 in the 57th minute, Swope Park gave up a bad turnover deep in their own zone. Midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips jumped on the loose ball and found Drogba in the middle of the pitch. With space between him and the defender, Drogba sent a shot inside the far right post to tie the match.
– azcentral sports news sources
Drogba creates buzz
June 10, 2017
He may be 39 years old, but Didier Drogba was still the best player on the field Saturday night when he made his debut for Phoenix Rising FC.
After missing on several chances early, Drogba connected on a header in the 40th minute to put Phoenix ahead on his first career goal with the team. His assist on Shaun Wright-Phillips’ goal in the 77th minute was enough to power Rising FC to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.
The win was a big one, as the team improved to 5-5 on the season, good for a total of 15 points and a seventh place tie in the Western Conference standings. Vancouver dropped to 4-6-2, with 14 points.
Drogba noted that it’s always nice to score goals, but that getting the win was the most important thing. He is the first owner to ever score a goal for his team.
“I think Vancouver played very well,” Drogba said. “They had good position of the ball, but we were more efficient than them and I think we played a bit more with our head and controlled the game.”
7,062 fans were in attendance for the match, which had been highly anticipated due to both Drogba and head coach Patrice Carteron making their debuts. It couldn’t have gone much better for the pair.
“7,000 people here in the stadium today, it’s fantastic,” Carteron said. “I’m happy that we won this game.”
Vancouver notched its lone goal on a penalty kick by Marco Bustos in the 68th minute. That kick followed a yellow card given to Kody Wakasa after a foul in the box.
The story of the game was Drogba, who seemingly had a chance to score every time he touched the ball. There was a noticeable buzz around the stadium prior to kickoff that only grew as time went on. He played the entire match.
“It was very difficult for me after six months without practicing,” Drogba said. “It took me five weeks to get back into this kind of shape. I still need a few weeks to improve, but it’s good to start at home and to start with the three points.”
Phoenix will be back in action on Sunday in Kansas City to take on the Swope Park Rangers. Their next home match will take place on Saturday, June 24 against Real Monarchs Salt Lake City.
“Most of the fans came to see (Drogba) today and he showed that he’s still a great player,” Carteron said. “So I’m really happy for our fans, I’m really happy for Phoenix Rising and I’m really happy for all of you to have the pleasure of seeing such a player.”
Drogba scored in Phoenix’s 2-1 win Saturday.
The moment had been building since April.
Didier Drogba, a soccer legend who starred in the World Cup with Ivory Coast and with Chelsea in the English Premier League, trotted out onto the field to join his new Phoenix Rising FC teammates.
The anticipation and buzz that had been growing all evening in the hot sun finally reached a climax, and the packed stands at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex erupted.
Sure, the fans were excited about the 39-year-old international star, but Drogba is more than just a new player. He is a symbol for this franchise – a symbol of hope, excitement and significance in the soccer world. That sentiment was echoed by fans prior to the start of the match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.
“The fact that a legend and a new manager are making their debut makes today special,” fan Vincent Castelamare said. “It is extremely exciting that the club has owners that have the passion for the sport as well as the business acumen to bring success and, hopefully, the MLS. The in-stadium experience has been first class.”
In the 40th minute, Drogba connected on a header into the right side of the net for his first career goal with Phoenix for a 1-0 lead. The crowd was electric.
Fans lined up more than two hours ahead of the scheduled start time, eager to fill the stadium.
“I’m excited because other people are excited,” fan Nick Tapia said.
Excitement is contagious, and it’s clear that it is spreading.
The signing of Drogba and the experience at games this season has left a positive impression on fans, who have seemingly bought in to the idea of soccer in Phoenix.
“I’m extremely excited about the future of soccer in Arizona with this new ownership group,” fan Michael Vanderplas said. “It’s a night-and-day difference between them and what we grew use to.”
The fan base is craving stability within ownership, and the belief is that they finally have that with Berke Bakay and the rest of the ownership group.
“After three ownership groups, three names, and four ‘home’ stadiums in the past four years, I’m hoping we’ve finally set a stake in the ground for professional soccer in Arizona,” fan Brian Johnson said. “This will be a milestone evening.”
Phoenix is one of 12 cities that submit a bid to join the MLS, and the addition of Drogba and reputation of the owners will make it hard for the league to say no.
“I want Phoenix to have an MLS team to enjoy and be proud of,” longtime fan Ken Knighton said. “Phoenix is the largest city in the U.S. without MLS. I have been following this franchise from the beginning in 2014 to watch the growth and progress and to be part of what will possibly be the fifth major-league team in Phoenix. Once this ownership group took control last August they have made amazing progress in reaching these goals.”
Before the game, Drogba said he doesn’t want fans to look at him like just another player on the team. He doesn’t have to worry about that because him simply being in Phoenix sends a stronger message to fans about the future of the sport in this city than any goal he will ever score here.
“I think the atmosphere will be electric,” fan Douglas Schuttenberg said. “I’m excited for Drogba’s debut. Every game this season has been enjoyable for me, win or lose. This ownership group has done everything one could expect to take the game to a new level in this town, and it’s working. Big names, new stadium and quality players. They are creating many new fans in my opinion.”
June 9, 2017
The long-awaited playing debut of Didier Drogba is here, as the Phoenix Rising’s player/owner is set to take the field on Saturday.
Rising FC (4-5-0) hosts Whitecaps FC 2 (4-5-2) at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday’s game will also mark the debut of Patrice Carteron, who was named head coach on May 22.
The game will be televised live on Cox 7 and the team’s youtube channel.
Rising FC falls to OKC FC
Phoenix Rising FC ended its three-match road trip with a 3-2 loss to Oklahoma City Energy FC. Defender J.J. Greer and midfielder Eder Arreola scored their first goals of the season in the loss.
The club will return home this Saturday, June 10, to take on Whitecaps FC 2. That match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. It will also be the debut for international soccer superstar Didier Drogba.
Rising’s games are carried live on Cox cable channel 7 as well as the team’s youtube channel, www.PHXRisingFC.com.