PHOENIX – In a rematch from last year’s postseason, No. 3-seed Phoenix Rising FC plays host to the No. 7-seed Swope Park Rangers in the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs on Friday night with Phoenix looking to gain revenge after falling to the defending Western Conference champion Rangers in a penalty shootout a season ago. #PHXvSPR kicks off at 10:30 p.m. ET and can be watched live on ESPN+ in the United States and YouTube internationally, and followed live via the USL Match Center.
@PHXRisingFC visited the Rangers a season ago in a contest that stretched over two days due to heavy rain and lightning that caused the game to be called at halftime and continued the following afternoon. On that occasion, Phoenix took the lead in extra time through Didier Drogba but Swope Park’s Amer Didic equalized as the hosts went on to take a 4-2 victory in the shootout. Drogba was again on target in Rising FC’s first playoff win in club history last Friday night, however, as Phoenix eliminated the No. 6-seed Portland Timbers 2 with a 3-0 win before a club-record crowd of 7,511 fans.
@SwopeRangers began the defense of their Western Conference championship with the club’s first road victory in the postseason in a 2-1 win against No. 2-seed Sacramento Republic FC last Saturday night at Papa Murphy’s Park. Wan Kuzain and Hadji Barry scored for Swope Park as it rallied from an early deficit to win its seventh postseason contest in the past three seasons. The Rangers will also arrive in Phoenix undefeated in their last four contests against Rising FC, having claimed a 2-2 draw on the road at the start of the 2018 regular season before taking a 1-0 win on home turf when the sides last met in May.
125 – Phoenix Rising FC forward Jason Johnson had gone 125 days without scoring a goal before he found the net in last Friday’s postseason victory against the Portland Timbers 2.
500 – Swope Park has averaged 500 passes per game this season, but only recorded 339 total passes in its victory against Sacramento Republic FC.
FiveThirtyEight.com Match Predictor: Phoenix Rising FC 72%, Swope Park Rangers 28%
Phoenix Rising FC – GK: Carl Woszczynski; D: Amadou Dia, Mike da Fonte, Joe Farrell, Saad Abdul-Salaam; DM: Kevon Lambert, Collin Fernandez; AM: Jason Johnson, Didier Drogba, Solomon Asante; F: Chris Cortez
Swope Park Rangers – GK: Eric Dick; D: Colton Storm, Graham Smith, Amer Didic, Justin Bilyeu; M: Rassambek Akhmatov, Wan Kuzain, Felipe Hernandez; F: Kharlton Belmar, Hadji Barry, Tyler Blackwood
Phoenix – None
Swope Park – None
REF: Guido Gonzales Jr.
AR1: Gjovalin Bori
AR2: Tom Felice
4TH: Rosendo Mendoza