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Rising FC Begins Open Cup in Fresno

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/17/17, 8:54AM EDT


Fuego set to include familiar face as Phoenix looks to move on

Photo courtesy Michael Rincon / Phoenix Rising FC

PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC will head to Fresno, Calif., for the Second Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night, where the PDL’s Fresno Fuego and a familiar face to Rising FC fans will be awaiting them for the game at the Fresno State Soccer & Lacrosse Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT and the game is set to be streamed live online.

Coming off a dramatic victory on Saturday night against OKC Energy FC, Phoenix is likely to dip into its depth on Wednesday night as the club gets set for a busy end of May that includes a massive game on the road against San Antonio FC this Saturday night.

“We feel that we have a very deep team, and players that are going to be able to get the job done, and also be able to rest some of our regulars for the following Saturday,” said Rising FC Interim Head Coach Rick Schantz. “It’s something that I’ve thought about, and I’ve talked to the whole staff and the players as well. We have a good plan for the next 7-to-10 days and I feel pretty confident going into it.”

Photo courtesy Michael Rincon / Phoenix Rising FC

The Fuego will likely offer a test for Rising FC, with among their squad former Arizona United SC playmaker Jose Cuevas. The attacking midfielder has started the new PDL season strongly, and scored twice in the Fuego’s 4-1 victory against La Maquina FC in the First Round of the Open Cup last Wednesday.

With Phoenix looking to reach the Fourth Round of the Open Cup – and the matchup with an MLS club that would bring – for the second time in the club’s history, forward Jason Johnson believes this is a good opportunity for the side’s depth to get test.

“It’s always a great time for players that haven’t played as much to get their legs moving,” Johnson said. “I know these players will take it as seriously as possible because it’s really prime minutes for them to help the team. It’s also a fun and huge tournament in the U.S., so we’ll look to do the club proud.”

The game will also give Schantz the chance to evaluate what the plan could be with both Alessandro Riggi and Luke Rooney sidelined, Riggi for three-to-five weeks with a right knee injury and Rooney set to miss the remainder of the season.

“We won’t change a whole lot about how we play or what we do, but it’s time to give some guys an opportunity to see that they’re capable,” said Schantz. “We signed them for a reason, and they have to step up and get the job done. Nothing makes a team better than competition, and these guys have their chance to go out and show not only myself but also their teammates that they should be here. They do it every day in training, there’s no reason they can’t get the job done in a game.”

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