Phoenix FC looks to start its move up the USL PRO League standings with three points from an important match against Dayton Dutch Lions FC this Friday, June 21, at 7:30 p.m. at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.
The Wolves come off a draw with Real Salt Lake's reserve team at home on June 15. They need wins to get back into contention for one of eight postseason berths in the league. Phoenix FC (2-9-4) has seven matches remaining at home, including this Friday's tilt. Only four more are on the road. Top goal scorer Donny Toia, who played a full match last week on a sore lower right leg and pronounced afterward that he was fine and able to play, leads the Wolves.
Toia has three goals on the season. Diego Faria, Netinho (Net-EEN-yo), Aaron King and Scott Morrison have two each in league play. No one has played more minutes than Morrison for the club this season, 1,350. That total is also tops in all of USL PRO.
In its last match, Phoenix FC played to a 0-0 draw with a Real Salt Lake reserve team that featured some players with a high degree of Major League Soccer experience. The Wolves had the better of play on offense and their defense came together to limit RSL's chances. The two teams also had a scoreless draw in their first meeting in Utah earlier this season.
Phoenix FC played without Diego Faria as a starter last week, and he is one of their top offensive threats. Hampered by shin splints, Faria played just 20 minutes as a substitution and will not be in the lineup against the Dutch Lions this week as he continues to recover.
Dayton is 5-2-3 and at 10 matches played, has played the fewest amount of games of any team in the league and five fewer than Phoenix FC. The Dutch Lions' record plus games in hand puts them at an advantage in the final two months of the regular season to make the playoffs.
Forward Gibson Bardsley leads the club in goals with five, and midfielder Joel DeLass is second with four goals. Eleven different players have been credited with an assist this season, and goalkeeper Matthew Williams is allowing an average of 1.7 goals per game.
For more information on Phoenix FC, visit their official team website.