All-time regular season series: 1-1-1, Tied
Last match: 1-1 home draw vs [Arizona United SC] (2016)
San Antonio FC (7-2-0, 23pts) plays the final match of a three game home stand against fellow MLS expansion bid candidate, Phoenix Rising FC (3-0-3, 9pts). This will be the first match against Phoenix Rising under its new name.
Formerly Arizona United SC, Phoenix Rising is quickly making a name for itself in lower division soccer. Under its new ownership, Phoenix has built a "pop-up stadium" that seats 6,200 while applying for one of the four MLS expansion bids back in January. It has a "climate controlled" stadium plan that it believes will entice MLS to come to the desert. The team has also made splashes in the player market as they signed C.D. Guadalajara's all-time leading scorer Omar Bravo, Shaun Wright-Phillips, who played for Manchester City, Chelsea, and the English National Team, and most significantly, former Chelsea and Ivory Coast International Didier Drogba. Drogba is also now a part-owner in the franchise and will move to their front office after his two years of playing with the team is up.
Phoenix are coming off a 2-1 win against the OKC Energy in USL play and a 3-1 Open Cup win versus PDL side Fresno Fuego. The team is quickly coming down with the injury bug, however. Midfielder Luke Rooney is out for the remainder of the season after a non-contact injury and midfielder Alessandro Riggi will miss 3-5 weeks after injuring his right knee, both against OKC.
SAFC was held to a 0-0 draw last Saturday night against Seattle Sounders FC 2, only the second draw of the 2017 season. It was the first time this season the Alamo City boys had been held scoreless in a match. The squad responded quickly though with a victory in the Open Cup on Wednesday against NPSL side Houston Dutch Lions FC, 2-1. San Antonio has only dropped four points in total this season and will look to take all three against up-start Rising who have two losses in five, though one was a 4-0 shellacking at the hands of lowly Reno 1868 FC.
"We all know it can be better," said defender Sebastien Ibeagha. "We have Phoenix coming [this] weekend and we have to step it up in training and move on from there."
This is the first match of six this season to be broadcast on FOX Sports Southwest.
The game is Saturday, May 20th at 7:30pm CST. #SAvPHX
How to watch:
San Antonio FC & the USL
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