The Oakland Roots host Phoenix Rising at 7:00 p.m. this evening at Laney College, which means the match will only be on ESPN+ and not KTVU Plus as well. Between the short week, and things going somewhat crazy in my life (trying to buy a house lmao wtf), this is going to be essentially a non-preview.
(credit on the preview image to Egon Schiele, who has done a wonderful job filling in for Jon on photography).
A Look Around the Western Conference
The only really bad result for the Roots this past weekend was Vegas picking up three points and the Roots picking up zero. Colorado Springs drew to a lousy Eastern Conference team at home. New Mexico drew away at Detroit City. El Paso held San Antonio to only one goal in El Paso, but could not score themselves. RGV fell to San Diego and LA got hammered by Orange County. Phoenix and Sacramento held each other scoreless in Wild Horse Pass. So Orange County and Monterey gained ground on the Roots, but if that ends up mattering to the Roots’ place in the standings, it probably means the Roots missed the playoffs anyway.
Vegas hosts San Antonio starting 30 minutes after Roots-Rising kicks off, and RGV hosts Hartford Athletic. If the Roots can get three points against Phoenix, they have a chance to pair that with relevant other teams dropping points.
This weekend Vegas travel to Atlanta to face a United 2 team that showed some life, but has gone quiet again. Sac flies to Charleston to face Battery, who are bad, but Sac is playing midweek in the US Open Cup and may not be able to run out their starters for a road trip in the Eastern Time Zone. El Paso hosts Louisville, still the class of the Eastern Conference, and Galaxy II have to fly to San Antonio to hopefully face their second firing squad in 7 days. Phoenix host Colorado Springs, and overall we’re probably still better off hoping that Colorado Springs denies Phoenix even 1 point, buuuuut Colorado Springs recent results give some reason to hope that they collapse entirely. So maybe hope for the draw there. New Mexico fly to New Jersey Monday night, but despite the time zones, will likely take all three from the baby bulls. Roots will not play against until August 13. We’ll see if I can put together a “look around the league” for the weekend in the middle.
Rising have not won a game since Hartford on May 28. They have three draws and five losses since then, including a loss away to Loudoun United. Their last two matches are 0-0 draws to Louisville City in Louisville and to Sacramento in Phoenix. Phoenix dominated possession against Sacramento and registered 7 shots on target. If you go back three games, you get a 1-3 loss to Memphis 901 in Memphis.
I’m sure something interesting happened in this game. Watch the highlights and then let me know in the replies on twitter.
|3/26||Monterey Bay Union Football Club of Seaside, California||Home||L||2||3|
|3/30||New Mexico United||Away||D||2||2|
|4/02||Tampa Bay Rowdies||Home||D||0||0|
|4/13||January 6 Apologists SC||Home||D||2||2|
|4/30||Colorado Springs Troop Appreciators||Home||L||0||3|
|5/14||AFC Pure Uncut Nevada Chaos||Away||D||1||1|
|5/21||Galaxia de Carson, Two||Home||W||1||0|
|5/28||Central Valley Republic||Home||D||1||1|
|6/4||Monterey Bay Union Football Club of Seaside, California||Away||W||2||0|
|6/15||New Mexico United||Home||L||1||2|
|6/22||Five Shades of Gray, F.C.||Away||D||1||1|
|7/01||“The Two” but California||Away||L||1||3|
|7/16||More like Ex Paso, Right? Is that a thing? What about Lol Paso?||Home||W||4||0|
|7/23||AFC Pure Uncut Nevada Chaos||Home||L||0||2|
Yeah, I’m not posting these highlights or rewatching them. We talked about the game on RootsPod this week. Should Paul Blanchette have come way out of his goal and hacked down Cal Jennings? Views differ!
Lineup and Score Predictions
I agree with Aaron’s lineup prediction below. Roots gotta win this one. This team, unfortunately, seems to need more reality checks than it really should, but that Lights game is going to be a reality check. The Roots can’t play better off and on for the rest of the season, they need to play better for the rest of the season. I think Guerra gets the boys fired up for this one and they dismantle another underperforming team like they dismantled El Paso. 3-1 Roots.
Early Monday morning Aaron let me know he was being called in for questioning relating to an ongoing wildlife administrative investigation and asked me to come down to the station with him to serve as his attorney. Obviously, I cleared my calendar. Sure enough, they separated us shortly after we arrived and I was left in a waiting room playing Thelonious Monk, while Aaron was taken for “processing.” After an hour this pudgy little guy with a too-short tie came to get me to bring me back to the conference room. He dropped his coffee when he opened the door and the room was empty–no sign of Aaron. Things got chaotic then, officers running around and screaming, everyone telling everyone else to put out the APB. No one noticed the note jammed under the leg of the table in the room. I jimmied it loose and unfolded it. The hastily scrawled note read:
3-2 Oakland (Morad/Bailey in; Barbir/Blanchette out).