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Phoenix Rising’s Rufat Dadashov, Eric Dick named to USL Team of the Week

Phoenix Rising FC forward Rufat Dadashov (left) and goalkeeper Eric Dick (right). (Arizona Sports/Ashley Orellana)

Phoenix Rising FC forward Rufat Dadashov and goalkeeper Eric Dick were named to USL Championship’s Week 6 Team of the Week, the league announced on Tuesday.

Phoenix Rising has now had seven total appearances on the Team of the Week in just five matches played this season.

“When both of those guys are recognized, it kind of tells the story of the match. We were under a lot of pressure but we were good in transition,” manager Rick Schantz told media on a Zoom call Tuesday.

Dadashov was named to the TOTW’s starting XI after scoring one goal, notching one assist and completing three key passes.

The Azjerbaijani international now has four goals on the 2020 campaign, which is tied for second in USL Championship and tied for first in the Western Conference.

Dadashov’s assist on the night brought his tally up to two, which is also tied for the second-most in the Western Conference.

“A lot of things people don’t see that he does are not on the stat sheet — how hard he works to hold the ball up for us. That helps our transition game so well,” Schantz said.

“I know that teams want to stop our front three, they want to stop us from getting into transitional moments. So Rufat being able to find good spaces and receive entry passes is a big deal. … I think Rufat is everything that we expected him to be.”

It didn’t take long for Dick to receive recognition from the league, who was filling in for an ill Zac Lubin (stomach flu).

In just his first start for Phoenix Rising, the goalkeeper was named to the TOTW’s bench as an honorable mention.

Dick’s biggest contribution of the match came in the dying stages, as the Sporting KC loanee made a double-save from point-blank inside the box to keep the scoreline at 3-1 in Rising’s favor. The highlight-reel play has even been nominated for Save of the Week.

“It was kind of a last-minute decision for him but he handled it extremely well, played with some confidence,” Schantz said.

“All-in-all, I thought he did a really good job. It’s important to have two goalkeepers like this that challenge each other every day and the back four — the whole team in general — just feels confident when you got a big guy like that behind you who feels like he can stop anything.”

Schantz also noted that both Lubin and third-string goalkeeper Landon Carter have tested negative for COVID-19 twice and are back in training with the team after experiencing flu-like symptoms Friday.

Phoenix Rising currently sits in second place in Group B, but with a game in hand on group leaders San Diego Loyal SC.

PRFC’s next match is against New Mexico United on Saturday at Casino Arizona Field.

The game was originally scheduled to be in Albuquerque, but due to COVID-19 restrictions in New Mexico, the league elected to move the match to Arizona.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be audio broadcasted live on ArizonaSports.com and on the new Arizona Sports app.