After a second 3-3 draw to start the season, Phoenix Rising FC Head Coach Rick Schantz is quick to point out the fundamental differences between the first two matches.
“In San Antonio we weren’t very organized, didn’t perform extremely well. For the first time in a long time, we lost the challenges. We didn’t have very good possession,” Schantz said. “The mistakes were organization more than individual defending.”
He noticed a completely different situation at the home opener versus New Mexico United last Saturday.
“Statistically, we dominated the game. The more challenges won, we were better in the air, we were better in possession, we were better with key passes, created more chances,” Schantz said. “And had three moments where we had some mental mistakes and the other team capitalized.”
With two weeks off until their next game, the team will try to correct the defensive errors that have troubled them in the first two games this season.
“Defensively, we’ve been talking about coming together and being more compact, and not allowing room for shots,” Schantz said. “As we move forward, we’ll eventually get that sorted out. At this point right now, we’d like to get consistency, but we need to get the result first.”
The team is mostly focused on improving their defense leading up to a March 30 match with Colorado Springs FC, but Schantz is pleased with how his offense is working so far.
“I was pleased with our offensive performance overall. I thought we were very good with the ball. We were very dangerous,” Schantz said. “There are some moments where I think we can do a little bit better in the final third, but finishing is usually the last thing to come for a team. We just have to focus on our defending right now.”
Phoenix Rising FC’s next match is March 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Casino Arizona Field. This game, and every game, will be broadcast on Your Phoenix CW (channel 6 or 61.1).