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Phoenix Rising sets all-time USL record with 11th consecutive win

(Twitter photo/@PHXRisingFC)

Phoenix Rising FC immortalized itself in the USL Championship history books on Saturday night.

The club defeated Tulsa Roughnecks FC 1-0 to win its 11th consecutive match to break the league’s all-time record. It was also Rising’s fifth straight road victory, another team record.

In what was expected to be a somewhat comfortable win on paper, the play on the pitch proved to be anything but.

Coming into the match, Roughnecks had lost seven of their last eight, being outscored 24-5 including being shutout five times in that span, with their last victory being on April 24 (winless in their last 12 games).

But Tulsa’s defense proved to be up to the task from the get-go, closing down the space in the final third, preventing Phoenix from creating any real chances that tested the Roughnecks’ keeper.

Tulsa actually had the best chance in the opening half, as forward Fredlin Mompremier was in on goal in the 12th minute, but PRFC goalkeeper Zac Lubin was able to make the kick-save, preserving his USL Championship-leading 11th clean sheet on the year.

But that wasn’t Mompremier’s biggest contribution to the match.

In the dying minutes of the first half, the Tulsa forward was shown a straight red card for his scissor-kick like challenge on Rising FC midfielder James Musa, leaving his side down a man for the remainder of the game.

Phoenix wasn’t able to capitalize on the man advantage as much as you would’ve thought for a club that had won 10 in a row coming into the match, outscoring its opponents 37-6 (3.70 goals scored per game) in that time along with having scored the most goals in the league (52).

Rising would not be denied its place in the history books, however, as the club scored on a header following a corner that was put back across the face of goal for the second week in a row.

This time it Kevon Lambert adding to his goal-scoring tally (his second of the year) on a headed pass from forward Adam Jahn, who has now scored or assisted in 11 of his last 12 matches.

Phoenix remains atop the Western Conference standings (44 points) with a three-point lead and two games in hand over second-place Reno 1868 FC, and following Tampa Bay Rowdies’ 2-0 loss to New York Red Bulls II on Friday, Rising becomes the outright leader in the USL Championship standings in both points and wins (13) for the first time this season — wins are the tiebreaker in the Championship, not goal difference.

Of all the stats and accolades through 20 matches on the 2019 campaign, that one is the most important to the club, as winning the regular-season title guarantees home field throughout the playoffs, something that came back to bite Phoenix in last year’s Final that had to be played in Louisville after the team dropped eight of its last nine points of the regular season.

Phoenix Rising will look to extend a multitude of records and league leads in its next match on Saturday away to 14th-place LA Galaxy II, most notably, a USL-record 12th consecutive victory and club-record sixth straight road win, as well as adding to its league-lead in goals (53), goal differential (+36) and clean sheets (11).

Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and will be audio-streamed on ArizonaSports.com.

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