Rising downs Loudoun United, 3-1 at home


Rising players, Jose Hernandez and Manuel Arteaga celebrate after Hernandez’s goal in the 33rd minute

Hannah Hamilton, Reporter

Phoenix Rising FC defeated Loudoun United FC 3-1 in a heated battle Saturday night.

After being eliminated on April 26 from the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in Albuquerque after a 2-1 loss Phoenix was looking for redemption with a win at home.

7,334 fans showed up for the match between Phoenix Rising FC and Loudoun United on an unseasonably warm night for April.

The match started with slow passing along the field and Rising not pressing—fans showed some frustration with lack of attack and began to call for more.

Midfielder Jose Hernandez may have heard the fans and answered with a goal in the 33rd minute followed by forward, Manuel Artega scoring three minutes later.

In the first half, Loudon managed a goal from Yanis Leerman after Rising gave up a free kick.

Halfway through the second half frustration clearly showed as Loudoun players began chirping at each other on defense.

Toward the end of the second half, after a missed corner kick opportunity, Loudoun made a quick and swift counterattack leaving Rising defenders sprinting to catch up, but a determined Rocco Rios Novo ran to the edge of the box to boot the ball out of bounds.

With a 2-1 advantage, Baboucarr Nije skillfully controlled the ball and kept Loudoun’s Higo Fauroux on his heels placing the ball in the back of the net for his first goal of the season.

With the 3-1 win it was the most goals Phoenix had scored in a match all season.

“It’s been a process and where we’re at with 18 new players. Until we find consistency there’s gonna be days where things are clicking – and there’s going to be days where things are not going to look great and that’s part of that process,” said head coach Juan Guerra at post game and in response to a question about play consistency.

“We had a conversation after the game in New Mexico and looking at them in the eyes and then looking at them here tonight before the game, I knew that the boys were ready to push again coming in – and to get a result that was much needed vs. a team that is doing very well in the USL and is going to finish well too,” Guerra said.

Rising is on the road to face the Tampa Bay Rowdies May 6 at 4:30 p.m. at AI Lang Stadium—home in Phoenix to meet Hartford Athletic on May 13.