Phoenix Rising looks to win 7th straight match, remain 1st in West
Phoenix Rising FC will look to extend its club-record six-game winning streak away to seventh-place OKC Energy FC on Saturday night.
This will be the final match of the two-game road trip for PRFC, the first of which resulted in a 3-0 road win over Reno 1868 FC on Tuesday night.
OKC comes into the match on the heels of a 1-1 draw at home to San Antonio FC. Energy FC is currently on a six-game unbeaten streak in USL Championship play, but hasn’t won a game since beating Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 1-0 at home on May 25.
In those six matches, OKC has only scored or allowed a maximum of one goal, totaling five goals scored and four allowed.
Energy FC is led by its leading goal scorer Deshorn Brown (8), leading assist man Owayne Omar Gordon (6) and goalkeeper Cody Laurendi. Per Opta, Gordon and Laurendi also lead USL Championship in chances created and saves with 11 and 52, respectively.
OKC is significantly better at home, having 15 of its 22 points (68%) on the 2019 campaign coming in Oklahoma City.
Phoenix Rising comes into Saturday night’s contest in the best form of any team in the league, both individually and collectively.
The team is currently on a six-game winning streak, a club record that started on May 10. In that time, Rising has outscored its opponents 22-3 and captured four clean sheets, jolting the team to the top of the Western Conference standings. PRFC now boasts the best attack USL Championship with its league-leading 37 goals scored and +23 goal differential.
No other team in the Western Conference has a positive double-digit goal differential and the club’s 7.0 team rating is the best in USL Championship, per Opta.
Individually, Adam Jahn and captain Solomon Asante have led the way for PRFC, the latter of which is in contention for league MVP. Jahn’s form of late has seen him score or provide an assist in seven consecutive matches. His goal against Reno puts him at nine for the year, the most on the team and one behind the league leaders.
Asante has scored in five straight games, bringing his season goal tally to eight (tied for sixth in USL Championship). His assist on Jahn’s goal against Reno also made the Ghanaian the league’s leading assist man with eight. Having only played in 13 of Phoenix’s 15 league matches, Asante has either scored or assisted on 16 of the club’s 37 goals (43%).
The captain also boasts the league’s best average player rating (8.11) and shots on target per match (1.8) while his 3.4 key passes and nine chances created per match rank second in USL Championship, per Opta. He is the only player currently rated above 8.
Rising FC also has the second-best defense in the Western Conference having only allowed 14 goals in its 15 matches on the year.
Speaking of not allowing goals, the club has not allowed a goal in the month of June since 2017, keeping a total of nine clean sheets in that span.
Goalkeeper Zac Lubin has eight clean sheets of his own in 2019, just one behind the USL Championship leader.
Saturday night will be the third match in which Rising will be without Junior Flemmings and Kevon Lambert as they continue to represent Jamaica at the Gold Cup. Flemmings has made two appearances for the Reggae Boyz in as many games, coming on as a sub in a 3-2 win over Honduras and starting in a 0-0 draw to El Salvador.
But Phoenix hasn’t missed a beat in the Jamaican duo’s absence. Not to say that they aren’t missed or won’t be welcomed back with open arms upon their return. Rising has won back-to-back matches by a 3-0 scoreline with Joey Calistri scoring a goal in each match and James Musa commanding the midfield as a true number six.
However, with Saturday night being PRFC’s third match in eight days, one would expect manager Rick Schantz to use the great depth his squad has to keep fresh legs, especially having played the same starting XI in the last two games that were only three days apart.
Phoenix Rising will look to remain atop the Western Conference standings on Saturday night against OKC.
Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. and the match can be audio streamed on ArizonaSports.com.