PHOENIX, AZ -- Phoenix FC's first league match in almost two weeks pits the Wolves against the Charlotte Eagles on Thursday, May 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium in a match that will see forward Darren Mackie in the Wolves' starting lineup for the first time this season. Phoenix FC is also hosting Military Appreciation Night.
Former Scottish Premier League standout Darren Mackie is the first player ever signed to play for Phoenix FC, and he was intended to be the centerpiece of a high-octane offense for the Wolves. Mackie suffered a groin injury early in training camp and has since been sidelined, making only one brief appearance off the bench. His addition to the starting lineup has been highly anticipated both in Phoenix and in international circles, where "The Dazzler" has a substantial following of devoted fans.
Phoenix FC will also kick off the Memorial Day weekend with a Military Appreciation Night by offering a free ticket to all active and retired military members. Proper military identification must be presented at the Phoenix FC ticket booth beginning at 6 p.m. to receive one (1) free admission. For full details, please CLICK HERE.
Phoenix FC hasn't played a USL PRO match since May 11 at Dayton. The Wolves (2-5-2) have eight points from nine matches but are only two points out of a playoff spot with 17 matches remaining on their schedule. The seventh-place Eagles have 12 points from a 3-0-3 record, so their spot in the standings is somewhat misleading having played fewer matches than all but one other club.
Phoenix FC made late charges in its two most recent league matches at Dayton and Pittsburgh but just missed a draw in each. The Wolves led until the 82nd minute in Tucson.
Aaron King, Peabo and Tommy Ramos scored their first goals of the season at Pittsburgh and Dayton. King scored one in each game and shares the club lead in league-match goals with Diego Faria and Netinho (Neh-teen-yo). Faria has three goals from all competitions to lead the Wolves.
Midfielder Scott Morrison has played every minute of every league match for Phoenix FC, 810 total minutes plus extra time.
Charlotte got a goal from defender Shaun Francis, a former MLS player with the Columbus Crew, to defeat defending USL PRO champion Charleston last week. The Eagles play their first U.S. Open Cup match tomorrow (May 21) at home against the Seattle Sounders U-23s of the Premier Development League.
This could present a challenge, as the Eagles must play, then go from North Carolina to Arizona the next day and face Phoenix FC the following evening.
Other Eagles to watch are forward Cuitlahuac (Coo-eet-lah-wock) "Christian" Meza, goalkeeper Eric Reed and top reserve Sergio Villasenor of Mexico, who played for the ill-fated but memorable Indios de Juarez during their short-lived run in Mexico's First Division and who faced his current team in the U.S. Open Cup a year ago while with the El Paso Patriots of the PDL.
For more information on Phoenix FC, visit their official website.