Phoenix Rising FC

Preview: "t's Coming Together at the Right Time."

September 18, 2023 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Phoenix Rising FC News Release

Unbeaten in five games, Phoenix Rising FC (12-8-9) hosts Indy Eleven (11-10-8) on $1 Beer Night at 38th St/Washington, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Last time out, Phoenix dismantled Detroit, 5-0, extending its shutout streak to a season-high 276 minutes. Danny Trejo scored twice to reclaim the top spot in the Golden Boot race (17G). His second goal was assisted by Panos Armenakas, who also found the back of the net vs. Detroit.

"It was nice to get my first goal here in front of these fans," said Armenakas postgame. "We're pretty focused now. The main thing was the three points. We're already looking forward to Wednesday. It took us a while to understand the way they were pressing. I felt like their left back was following me everywhere. He was not giving me any space. I needed to move a little bit quicker to find the spaces to exploit. The goal before halftime really helped us open them up."

That goal came on an assist from fellow Golden Boot race combatant Manuel Arteaga (15G). After pressing high and winning the ball back, Arteaga had a moment to shoot, but unselfishly knocked the ball centrally to Trejo for him to finish off.

"Danny is really important to our success, just like everyone else," said Armenakas. "When I first got here, I told him, with his quality, the way I read the game and create chances, my goal was to get him and Manu [Arteaga] in the Golden Boot race. The more goals we all score, the higher the chances we have to win."

Armenakas currently ranks fourth in the league with 52 chances created and third in the league with seven assists, but his mind went to the defensive side of the ball during his postgame press conference.

"The backs and midfield have really started to click the past couple of weeks," said Armenakas. "It's coming together at the right time."

Rising's defense has solidified recently. The club had just one clean sheet heading into a pivotal match in Monterey Bay on July 29. Since then, Phoenix has earned five shutouts in nine games. Rising has also feasted on Eastern Conference teams in Phoenix, going 4-0-1 and outscoring those teams 19-4 at 38th St/Washington.

But, next up is an Indy Eleven side that has been better away (7-5-2) than at home (4-5-6). Indy was also 5-0-1 in its last six, heading into New Mexico last weekend, but in the battle of former Rising starts, United prevailed, 3-2, thanks to a penalty kick earned by Greg Hurst.

Hurst and Santi Moar don't return to Phoenix until October 7, but two-time league MVP Solomon Asante and Aodhan Quinn will touch down Wednesday.

"Indy is a team that does things quite well," said Rising Head Coach Juan Guerra. "Solo [Asante] is a player that accomplished great things for our club. We are grateful for all he has done for the culture of this club. We are happy he is coming, but I can also tell you that we want to beat him on Wednesday. We are prepared for what is coming. It is an extremely important week for me."

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