Pitch conditions a concern for Phoenix Rising ahead of clash away to Oakland

Aug 3, 2021, 12:29 PM | Updated: Aug 4, 2021, 7:21 am
Phoenix Rising warmups prior to a 3-0 win over Oakland Roots at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizon...
Phoenix Rising warmups prior to a 3-0 win over Oakland Roots at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona, on May 8, 2021. (Owain Evans Photo)
(Owain Evans Photo)

Phoenix Rising is scheduled to play away to Oakland Roots on Wednesday night at Laney College Stadium.

However, pitch conditions remain a concern heading into the match that will be showcased on ESPN 2 at 7 p.m.

Back on June 19, the field was deemed unplayable by the league when Roots were supposed to host Sacramento Republic for Oakland’s first-ever home match in USL Championship.

The playing surface for Wednesday night’s contest consists of six 75-by-20-yard strips of turf that are velcroed together on a platform and was supposed to be installed on Monday night.

USL and PRO referees approved the conditions on Tuesday.

“We don’t know where we’re playing, that’s a start,” manager Rick Schantz said Tuesday of his concerns on the pitch conditions.

“What it was described to me from a Sacramento guy is it’s like playing on a gymnastics floor and it has some give to it, so it should be interesting,” he added.

Phoenix Rising will depart for Oakland on Tuesday and head straight to the field upon arrival in order to “walk the pitch so that we can at least understand what we’re getting ourselves into.”

“The good news is that (Roots) haven’t had a lot of time on that field either to get used to it, so being the first team to play there might not be the worst-case scenario,” Schantz said.

“And at this point in our season and in my career as a coach, we just have to evaluate player safety and after that we move on and just play the game.”

Turf as a playing surface in soccer has been controversial in recent years, with FIFA outlawing it for both the men’s and women’s World Cup due to injuries.

“As long as USL and PRO referees deem the field safe — they shouldn’t put the decision in my hands — but I’ll go out there and have my own thoughts and concerns obviously,” Schantz said.

“There’s a lot of people that have to be responsible for the fields that these guys play on.”

The PRFC manager reiterated the importance of the players seeing the pitch conditions and getting a good night’s rest in order to understand what’s expected of them against Oakland on Wednesday night.

Coming into the match, Roots has only scored one goal in their last seven matches, having allowed 10 goals in those games and eight in the last three contests. Oakland is 0W-2D-5L in those matches, with both the draws being 0-0 stalemates.

Roots also have six games in hand on the Pacific Division and have an astounding eight matches in the month of August and 10 from Aug. 4 to Sept. 8. They are 1W-3D-6L on the 2021 campaign, with the sole win being a 3-2 victory over LA Galaxy II on May 23.

Phoenix Rising won the only matchup between the two sides 3-0 on May 8 in what was Oakland Roots’ first-ever contest in USLC.


— Newly-signed Mexican center back Manuel Madrid had his visa cleared and will be available for selection among the 20 players traveling to both Oakland and Las Vegas.

— PRFC midfielder Arturo Rodriguez and right back Darnell King were named to USL Championship’s Week 15 Team of the Week, while midfielder Aodhan Quinn received honorable mention honors (bench).

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Pitch conditions a concern for Phoenix Rising ahead of clash away to Oakland