PHOENIX RISING FC

Phoenix Rising’s 10-match unbeaten streak ends with bad loss to Oakland

Aug 25, 2021, 11:07 PM | Updated: 11:27 pm
Phoenix Rising FC forward David Egbo in a 3-1 loss to Oakland Roots SC at Las Positas College in LI...
Phoenix Rising FC forward David Egbo in a 3-1 loss to Oakland Roots SC at Las Positas College in LIvermore, Calif., on Aug. 25, 2021. (Owain Evans Photo)
(Owain Evans Photo)

Phoenix Rising FC’s 10-match unbeaten streak came to an end on Wednesday night at the feet of Oakland Roots SC.

ORSC defeated PRFC 3-1 on grass at Las Positas College in what was one of Phoenix’s worst performances on the 2021 USL Championship campaign.

Phoenix was 6W-4D-0L during the 10-game unbeaten run before Wednesday night. But following the 3-1 loss to Roots, Rising is now 0W-3D-1L in its last four matches, which only amounts to three points out of the last 12.

Phoenix Rising — the league’s highest-scoring team — has also only mustered four goals scored while conceding six in that span.

“Overall, we did some nice things but again, we lacked some quality in certain moments,” PRFC manager Rick Schantz told Owain Evans postgame. “I thought at the end we started to probe through the middle a little bit more which was much better and that’s what we’ve been working on and what we need to do.

“In the first half we just were relying on hitting [diagonal balls] and trying to take them one-v-one in the corner. It’s the same thing we did against Orange County and the same thing we did against Sacramento, so I was pleased in the second half for the adjustments that were made.”

Schantz was without captain Solomon Asante — who was held out after picking up a hamstring injury on Saturday — and made a plethora of changes to his starting XI.

“Solo went down and we’re not sure how long he’s going to be out, so we had to make a change anyway,” Schantz said. “I think it was nice for Santi, Aodhan, Kev, even Philly (Farrell) there at the end to kind of get 20-30 minutes, so hopefully they’ll be prepared for Saturday.”

Phoenix Rising may have outshot Oakland Roots 19-14 on the night, but PRFC was sloppy both up front and at the back.

PRFC also had more corners than ORSC at a clip of 8-5, but of the 19 shots, Rising only mustered to get three of those on target compared to Roots’ seven.

But unfortunately for Rising, multiple shots from inside the box were sent over the bar, including a sitter that went begging on a shot from inside the six-yard box from forward David Egbo.

Defensively, Oakland took a 1-0 lead just before halftime on a blistering shot from Wal Fall in the 43rd minute.

And just six minutes into the second half, Rising gifted away the second goal on a turnover from center back Manuel Madrid to make it 2-0 Roots in the 51st minute.

One of Phoenix’s three shots on target was right back Darnell King’s goal in the 53rd minute, which brought PRFC back into the match at 2-1.

The one-goal deficit would be short-lived, however, as an unfortunate sequence of bounces went Oakland’s way for Roots’ third and the final goal of the match.

“Some of the guys that haven’t played a lot got an opportunity tonight and they didn’t take full advantage of it,” Schantz said. “That’s just kind of how it goes, you know?

“I talked to them and we’ve been working on guys in these roles and we just have to be better. We can’t come on the road in a situation like this, a difficult environment and not be at our best or this will happen.”

PRFC (38 points in 19 matches) remains in first place in the Pacific Division by nine points with a game in hand over second-placed OC (29 points in 20 matches), but home-field advantage throughout the playoffs — which includes hosting the USLC Final — is starting to slip away behind the likes of El Paso Locomotive (41 points in 18 matches) and Louisville City (40 points in 19 matches).

“The concern is we lost a game tonight,” Schantz said. “We can’t look back on four-five games in a row and say we should have done this, we should have done that. No, we have to keep moving forward.

“If there’s anything that anybody knows about me and our club is that when things don’t go our way, the solution is always to work harder. I have to look at the film and watch the game closely tonight and we have to get after it because we have a tough team coming in on Saturday.”

UP NEXT

Phoenix Rising returns home to Wild Horse Pass to host Four Corners Cup rival New Mexico United on Saturday night.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Catch all the action on ArizonaSports.com and the Arizona Sports app.

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