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Phoenix Rising earns all 3 points to extend winning streak to 9

(Twitter photo/@PHXRisingFC)

Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.

Phoenix Rising FC proved why it has the best defense in the Western Conference with a 1-0 win away to Rio Grande Valley FC Toros on Saturday night.

The victory extended the club’s winning streak to nine consecutive matches, just one back of USL Championship’s all-time record of 10 that was set last year by FC Cincinnati, who is now in the MLS. The win is Rising’s fourth consecutive on the road, also a club record.

Saturday night’s contest marked the first time in those nine matches that Phoenix couldn’t manage to score at least three goals.

But it didn’t matter.

PRFC goalkeeper Zac Lubin and Rising’s defense captured a Western Conference-best ninth clean sheet on the 2019 campaign. Lubin is now tied for the most clean sheets in the league despite having not played in the first three matches of the season. Of his nine shutouts, five have come in the club’s last eight games.

Houston Dynamo, the MLS affiliate of Rio Grande Valley, loaned five players to RGV for Saturday night’s matchup in goalkeeper Tyler Deric, defenders Sam Junqua and Alejandro Fuenmayor, and midfielders Memo Rodriguez and Eric Bird. All were in the starting XI except Rodriguez, but he would be brought on following the halftime break.

Rio Grande Valley had a few big chances in the second half, most notably Carlos Small’s one-on-one opportunity that was denied by the post. Lubin was also able to make a great save on a well-struck shot from just outside the top of the box to keep the score tied at 0-0.

The match also saw the return of Reggae Boyz Junior Flemmings and Kevon Lambert following Jamaica’s semifinal run in the Gold Cup.

Both would be brought on in the second half, reuniting the AJF attacking trio for the first time since June 7.

Adam Jahn scored the game’s lone goal in the 62nd minute with a thumping header that hit the underside of the crossbar and crossed over the line following some build-up play that started with defender Joey Farrell, who had a goal-saving header on a well-executed set piece from a corner in the first half.

The game-winner is Jahn’s 10th goal of the season, propelling him into a tie for the fifth-most goals in the league.

You probably could’ve guessed who had the assist: captain Solomon Asante.

The assist is the Ghanaian’s 10th of the year, the most in USL Championship.

Unfortunately for Asante, by not scoring in the one-goal win, he fell just one game short of tying the league’s all-time record for consecutive matches with a goal (8).

PRFC remains atop the Western Conference standings while boasting USL Championship’s best offense with 46 goals and a +29 goal differential. The club’s 17 goals allowed is also tied for the least amount of goals conceded in the Western Conference.

Phoenix Rising will attempt to tie the league’s all-time record of 10 consecutive matches won on Friday as fourth-placed Austin Bold FC comes into town on $1 beer night.

Rising is a perfect 11-0-0 all-time in those matches.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be audio-streamed on ArizonaSports.com.