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August 7, 2020 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Phoenix Rising FC News Release

Rising returned to its winning ways against El Paso, winning, 3-1, last weekend, thanks to its third match of 2020 in which the club was able to score three-or-more goals at Casino Arizona Field.

Now, preparing for "one of the best teams in the Western Conference," according to head coach Rick Schantz - it is Rising's defense that will be tested. New Mexico has scored nine goals in four matches since returning to play on July 11 - all of which have been played in hostile territory.

New Mexico midfielder Christopher Wehan has scored in every match he has played since the league paused. Forward Devon Sandoval has also found the back of the net twice since the break.

"Wehan is a bonafide star in this league," said Schantz. "He and Sandoval are extremely dangerous players going forward. If you overlook New Mexico at all, they will punish you. They've played the underdog card too long. People should recognize they're one of the best teams."

Directly opposed on Saturday is Rising FC's defense, which has allowed 0.8 goals per match through five games this season.

"It's a very good tactical match up," said Schantz. "From what I've seen they want to play more this year. They like to overload the middle and their wingers come narrow, so it's like El Paso, when they attack but their defensive pressure is outstanding."

"It is a derby game," added Schantz. "You have two strong fan bases, two relatively close communities and two good teams with distinct styles.

They don't like us and we don't like them."

PHX vs. New Mexico

PHX is 0-0-2 against New Mexico in the regular season

PHX is 0-0-1 vs. New Mexico in Arizona

New Mexico finished the 2019 season with a record of 11-10-13

This is the only time Phoenix will play New Mexico in the regular season Previous Meetings


Rising and New Mexico tied, 3-3, on March 16, 2019, at Casino Arizona Field. Now playing for Phoenix, Santi Moar netted two goals for New Mexico. Kevaughn Frater, a Jamaican who now plays for Israeli Premier League club Maccabi Netanya, scored the third for the visitors. Solomon Asante (29, 48) scored twice from the penalty spot for Phoenix in the 3-3 draw. Jason Johnson, who recently signed with Louisville City FC, scored the third.


Devon Sandoval scored first for New Mexico, in just the fourth minute, of a 2-2 draw with Rising in Albuquerque, on September 28, 2019. United's Justin Schmidt made it a 2-0 lead in the 53rd minute before Rising rallied (Schmidt was reported to be out for the season with a foot injury on August 5).

Joey Calistri scored, seconds after subbing into the match, from an impossible angle to cut the lead in half in the 74th minute. He scored again, capping off a ridiculous highlight that saw two shots clang off the crossbar in a matter of seconds, before Calistri buried a shot into the far corner from just outside the area.

Phoenix Rising Insights


Phoenix out shot New Mexico, 14-12 and won the possession battle, 59-41, in last season's, 3-3, draw at Casino Arizona Field. Rising did it again in New Mexico, out shooting United, 17-13, and winning possession, 57-43, in the, 2-2, stalemate.


Despite losing more overall duels to El Paso last weekend, 47-53, Phoenix displayed a dominance in the air, winning that battle, 58-42.


New Mexico is the second-to-last opponent Phoenix will face this season outside of Group B. Aside from Saturday's match, Rising will only play current Group A leaders, Reno 1868 FC (3-1-0) on August 29. The nine of the team's 11 remaining matches will be against San Diego (3), Las Vegas (3), Los Dos (2) and Orange County (1).


Phoenix wore its black, "supporters' kits" for the first time in 2020 vs. El Paso on August 1 (3-1 W). The jerseys were inspired by the fans who waved glow sticks in 2019 during $1 beer nights. Rising was 15-1-0 during DBN in 2019, outscoring opponents 50-15 while earning eight clean sheets.


Corey Whelan ranks seventh in The Championship with 321 completed passes.

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United Soccer League Championship Stories from August 7, 2020

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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