PHOENIX RISING FC

Rick Schantz: Phoenix Rising is still looking at a few trade options available

Aug 14, 2021, 2:06 PM
Former Phoenix Rising FC forward Rufat Dadashov. (Ashley Orellana Photo)...
Former Phoenix Rising FC forward Rufat Dadashov. (Ashley Orellana Photo)
(Ashley Orellana Photo)

Former Phoenix Rising FC forward Rufat Dadashov was transferred to FC Schalke 04 II of the German Regionalliga West on Thursday.

Regionalliga West is the fourth tier of German football and is the second team to Schalke, who now plays in 2. Bundesliga after getting relegated following 30 years in the country’s top flight.

In 1.5 seasons with Phoenix, Dadashov bagged a total of 15 goals and six assists across 32 appearances in all competitions, including a hat trick in his Rising debut and hitting the clinching penalty in the shootout over Reno to send PRFC to the 2020 Western Conference Final.

In 14 matches for Phoenix Rising on the 2021 USL Championship campaign, the 29-year-old had four goals and two assists.

The move itself does not come as a shock, as the Azerbaijani will now only be two hours away from his hometown and returning to the country he last played in before joining PRFC last year.

However, the timing of the transfer puts pressure on Phoenix’s front office and MLS’ Vancouver Whitecaps FC loanee David Egbo, who now stands as the club’s only true No. 9 striker after Seyi Adekoya was loaned out to USLC Eastern Conference side OKC Energy FC on Aug. 6 — although Rising does have the option to recall him at any time.

“He’s really grown and adapting into our style of play, I’m very pleased and super excited,” manager Rick Schantz told Arizona Sports Saturday. “I gave him a call after the Rufat deal and told him he has all my trust and faith and I hope he’s ready to lead the line.”

And with the transfer window not allowing players outside of the U.S. to come over before July unless they were out of a contract, PRFC has until the Sept. 24 USLC roster freeze to replace Dadashov — if the club chooses to do so.

“We’re still looking at a couple, we have a few trade options available,” Schantz said. “But these are our guys and I’m very happy with the team that we have right now. We’ll keep all options open and get after it. I’m excited for David because he has a good opportunity.”

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Rick Schantz: Phoenix Rising is still looking at a few trade options available