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 Phoenix Rising FC

Match Preview: Phoenix Rising vs. Sacramento, Saturday at 7:30

May 2, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Phoenix Rising FC News Release

Phoenix Rising faces Sacramento Republic at 38th St/Washington this Saturday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m.

The Republic comes to town boasting the best record in the West (5-0-3), including three wins on the road already this season.

"This is a great game for us," said Rising head coach Danny Stone. "They've done very well this season, obviously, unbeaten. They're a consistently high preforming team. This will be a tough task, but we're looking forward to it. We're ready for it. The chance to attack that challenge is a positive one for us."

In their three away wins, Sacramento peppered Miami on March 16, putting seven of its 15 shots on target, but only getting one past goalkeeper Daniel Gagliardi. Next, Sacramento took a 2-0 win in Colorado Springs thanks to two goals before the 27th minute. On April 20, the Republic downed Orange County, 2-0, also jumping on them quickly and scoring in the first minute of the match. The Republic rolled out a similar lineup in all three of those matches, making only two changes across those three games.

"Sacramento is at a place where, after working through the process for three years, consistency becomes routine," said Stone. "It becomes more rhythmic in how you play and which players are on the field. Mark [Briggs] has a very strong squad of players there. They're quite familiar in what their roles are in that group."

Alternatively, Phoenix made seven changes last time out, getting a 3-1 win on the East coast vs. Rhode Island.

"We made rotations for various reasons," said Stone. "Mostly to add some freshness into the group, but it was a hard-fought win that was deserved for what we put into the game. We started the game well. We got ourselves onto the front foot quickly and created good moments. We scored some good goals. I was pleased with the energy levels the team showed."

The last time these teams met was November 4 in the Western Conference Final, with Phoenix coming from a goal down to win, 2-1, in Sacramento. In fact, Rising has only lost once in the regular season to the Republic since June 9, 2018 (5-1-5), but with the Republic unbeaten this season, Rising would be considered the underdog heading into this matchup.

"They have quality all over the field," said Stone. "The way to deal with that is to be collectively connected. If you only focus on one area against Sacramento, they can hurt you in other areas. It won't be that way. We'll make sure we have the fortitude of mind to make sure we're resolute defensively and prepared for anything they throw at us."

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