Time capsule: A snapshot of life before Phoenix Rising’s win streak started
Phoenix Rising FC is the hottest team in American soccer at the moment.
And that isn’t hyperbole, bias or opinion. It’s a fact.
On Tuesday, Phoenix came back from a 2-1 deficit in the final 10 minutes of the match to beat Tacoma Defiance, 4-2.
The victory is the club’s 16th in a row which breaks the record for the longest winning streak in U.S. professional soccer history. MLS side LA Galaxy was the previous record holder with 15 wins in a row over the course of two seasons (1997-98).
The historic run began nearly four months ago, dating back to May 10.
While Rising’s form has remained the same in that span, sports teams, weather and pop culture have not.
Here’s a snapshot at what things looked like then and now both here in the Valley and globally since Phoenix Rising’s last loss on May 4:
33 days over 110 degrees
Here in the Valley of the Sun, we all know how hot summers can be. Perhaps that has added to Rising being on fire over the course of the winning streak. In that time, Phoenix Sky Harbor has recorded 33 days of temperatures being 110 degrees or higher.
Suns hire Monty Williams
Although it may have occurred May 3, the Phoenix Suns ushered in a new era of Suns basketball with the hiring of Monty Williams. The Suns are coming off of a 19-63 season which was tied for both the second-worst record in the NBA and franchise history. Phoenix hasn’t made the playoffs in a decade (2009-10).
A new era also ushers in new players. Prior to the 2019 NBA Draft and free agent frenzy, these notable players were still on the Suns’ roster prior to departing in the offseason: Dragan Bender, Jamal Crawford, Jimmer Fredette, Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren.
D-backs record was 20-13
The D-backs were 20-13 on May 4, only one game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West standings. Since then, the Diamondbacks have floated around the .500 mark, which continues to beg the question of whether this team is playoff-bound or not.
Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford
The Arizona Cardinals signed Robert Alford this offseason as a second cornerback behind All-Pro Patrick Peterson. Alford is the only player to ever have a pick-six against Tom Brady in the playoffs, which he accomplished in Super Bowl LI. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Peterson would be suspended for the first six games of the 2019 season on May 16. To make matters worse, Alford suffered a tibia fracture on Aug. 15 and will miss “a significant amount of time,” according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Coyotes sold to Alex Meruelo
On July 29, the Arizona Coyotes finalized the majority ownership sale to Alex Meruelo. Meruelo answered any and all questions of his plans for the future of the team in his first press conference on Aug. 1 by saying that he “Sure as [expletive] wants to win.” The Coyotes even made shirts with the quote on it that will be sold at the Coyotes Den.
D-backs trade Zack Greinke
With the status of the team being a buyer or seller at the trade deadline up in the air, the Diamondbacks dealt their ace to the Houston Astros on July 31 to acquire pieces that would help the team both immediately and in the future.
U.S. wins Women’s World Cup
On July 7, the U.S. Women’s National Team won the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final 2-0 over the Netherlands. It’s the team’s fourth World Cup title and second in a row. The USWNT has made three consecutive Final appearances and has never finished worse than third in the eight installments of the Women’s World Cup.
“Old Town Road”
Nothing is more of a blast from the past than the top song from any time period. On May 4, 2019, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 and would go on to join Phoenix Rising in the all-time record-setting trend by staying at No. 1 for 19 weeks. The song was dethroned by Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” on Aug. 24.
“Game of Thrones”
Perhaps the most anticipated final season of a show in 2019, “Game of Thrones” came to an end after its finale on May 19. The HBO show’s unpredictability created a social media craze, as those that could not watch the air of each episode on Sunday nights were prone to spoilers.
“Toy Story 4” and “The Lion King”
Disney released two more installments of the most critically acclaimed movie franchises of all time this summer. June 24 and July 19 saw the release of “Toy Story 4” and “The Lion King,” respectively. The former was the fourth edition of the series, while the latter was a photorealistic computer-animated re-release of the original 1994 cartoon version.
Although FaceApp’s popularity was rather brief in comparison to the aforementioned trends, that didn’t stop the “age challenge” from practically taking over social media by showing what one would look like in their old age. The app was released on July 22.
Making its debut in 2003, season 15 of The Bachelorette took place while Rising began its wrath on the Western Conference. The 2019 edition was led by Miss Alabama USA 2018 Hannah Brown and created a social media frenzy until its finale on July 30.
Following San Antonio FC’s 5-1 loss away to Tacoma on Friday night, Phoenix Rising became the first club in USL Championship to clinch a playoff spot with nine games still left to be played (26% of the season).
Phoenix will look to extend its winning streak to 17 in a row on Saturday away to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. The two sides drew 2-2 after Switchbacks equalized at the death in their last matchup at Casino Arizona Field back on March 30, well before the beginning of the win streak.
A win would be Rising’s eighth straight on the road, which is also a USL record.
Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. and will be audio-streamed on ArizonaSports.com.