By the numbers: Phoenix Rising’s historic 2019 regular season
Phoenix Rising FC just completed the greatest regular season in USL Championship history.
That’s not hyperbole. It’s a fact.
Phoenix set numerous league records both collectively and individually in 2019 en route to its first regular-season title.
And as a result of the record-breaking season, the likes of captain Solomon Asante and manager Rick Schantz could also be crowned as unanimous MVP and Coach of the Year, respectively.
Now only one question remains.
Can Rising continue to make history and bring home the trophy that it left in Louisville after last season’s 1-0 USL Cup Final loss?
Here’s a look at the club’s historic 2019 regular season by the numbers:
The win streak.
Perhaps the biggest headline over the course of the season, Phoenix won 20 consecutive matches from May 10 to Sept. 14, the longest winning streak in the history of American professional soccer and Arizona pro sports. The streak also doubled the previous USL record of 10 set by now-MLS side FC Cincinnati in 2018.
Twenty wins in a row is a milestone accomplishment in any sport, but the feat is even more impressive due to the fact that soccer games regularly end in ties. During the perfect four-month stint, Rising collected 60 points, a tally only five other USL teams managed to reach over the entirety of the season.
Phoenix totaled 78 points on the 2019 campaign to break the previous league record of 77 set by Cincinnati last year. The 78 points came as a result of Rising’s 24 wins and six draws, the former of which also broke Cincinnati’s 2018 USL record of 23.
As a result, Phoenix lifted the Supporters’ Shield as the best team in the regular season and will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs including the USL Cup Final.
Games can’t be won without scoring goals. Rising did plenty of that this season.
A total of 14 different players combined to put 89 goals in the back of the net this year to break yet another league record. This time Reno 1868 FC was the victim as its record of 75 goals in 2017 was dethroned.
Golden Boot winner Asante led the charge with his 22 goals and 17 assists, the latter of which broke the all-time single-season assists record. Forwards Adam Jahn and Junior Flemmings were also major contributors to the tally, adding 17 and 15 goals of their own, respectively. The combined 54 goals accounted for 61% of the team’s goals and set the record for the most goals scored by three teammates, making AJF the deadliest attacking trio in USL history.
Schantz is a former defender himself, so it’s no surprise that he preaches defense first. You can’t lose if they don’t score.
Phoenix shut out its opponents 14 times in 2019, 41% of the 34-game regular season. The 14 clean sheets finished as the most in the Western Conference and third-most in the league. Thirteen of those belong to goalkeeper Zac Lubin, who finished tied for the second-most shutouts in USL and just two short of tying the all-time single-season record of 15.
As a result of the goal scoring record and allowing the least amount of goals in the Western Conference (36), Phoenix posted a league-record +53 goal differential. To put that in perspective, over half the league (53%) failed to even score 53 goals this season.
Historic team success doesn’t come without individual recognition.
Of the 34 weeks in the 2019 season, 23 included at least one Rising player on the USL Team of the Week. The club had 14 different players receive recognition from the league and combine for a total of 34 selections that was led by Asante (10), Jahn (5) and Flemmings (5). Phoenix fell one center back short of the entire starting XI being named to the Team of the Week at least once this year.