Live Blog: Oakland Roots host Phoenix Rising (June 24, 2023)

Hello and welcome to the blog’s live coverage of Oakland Roots hosting Phoenix Rising at CSUEB’s Pioneer Stadium. It marks Juan Guerra’s return to the Bay Area and first visit to The Function since spurning the fanbase for the desert.

Oakland walks into the match at 6-4-4 and sixth place with 22 points, while Rising is 5-6-4 and in eighth with 21 points. It creates a potentially critical match for both sides, where Roots can overtake Monterey and San Diego to move into fourth and will be tied for points with San Antonio in third.

Here are some notes on the Noah Delgado vs. Guerra battle:

Delgado has proved defense is a priority. Roots have finished with 11 clean sheets in his 27 total matches at the helm, compared to Guerra’s five in 26 matches in charge. In Guerra’s 27 matches with Phoenix, he has totaled just three clean sheets–giving him eight in a total of 53 matches.

RootsBlog Man of the Match – Darek Formella

We name Darek Formella our RootsBlog Man of the Match for scoring the go-ahead goal in the 82nd minute. He was very active in the system tonight, rotating to all three attacking positions at separate times tonight. He put himself in perfect position for the goal and wrapped his foot around it with power.

His goal was his sixth of the year, leading the team in USL Championship goals.

Intial Takeaways

  • What a sloppy performance. Honestly, Roots were lucky not to concede two or three goals based off of its own giveaways. There were multiple instances where Oakland put things on a platter for Phoenix, like in the 61st and 72nd minutes. For a second, it looked like Roots would be able to pull off an ugly win, which is needed in a home playoff push. The back line put Paul in bad position multiple times, and Paul didn’t do himself any favors in the early minutes. This easily could’ve gone in the other direction.
  • Phoenix is 0-3-1 versus Oakland Roots since Guerra took over, while he’s 0-2-1 in matches he’s been on the sidelines. That’s a pretty good indicator of a rivalry and two coaches who understand each other. In Phoenix, I feel Roots were the better side. This time, I feel Phoenix had the edge despite trailing late.
  • Tonight marks the third consecutive tie, but fifth match unbeaten. It puts Oakland up to fifth place with 23 points, two points behind San Antonio in fourth but Roots hold one game in hand. Roots have a favorable matchup against Rio Grand Valley on June 28 to close its three-game home stand and it will be the only upcoming mid-week game in the USL Championship–making it a critical time to pick up points. With a win, Oakland would close June 28 in fourth and tied for 26 points with third-place Monterey Bay.
  • Roots attack needs a boost. I’ve been clamoring for one more addition to the offensive end. Although I feel the attack is really close, one more signing could be the catalyst to lead the charge into the playoff push. International additions like Pelaez, Reid, and Wright haven’t panned out nearly halfway through the season. With 3 available international slots, perhaps one more could be in the cards. Roots won’t play for 10 days following its June 28 match until traveling to Tampa Bay on July 8–maybe that will be Oakland’s window.

Starting Lineups

  • Oakland Roots Starting 11

Wolfgang Prentice gets his first USL Championship start at left back in place of Kevin Wright. Joseph Nane also returns to the central center back role with Morad on the right and Barbir on the left. Cedeno returns to the midfield role opposite of Matsoso.

  • Phoenix Rising Starting 11


  • GAMETIME! Can Oakland Roots give Guerra a bad trip back to the Bay?

  • Paul easy save – 6′

    Header on target.

  • Memo Diaz shot just wide – 15′

    Good buildup from Formella to Memo, to Lindo, back to Memo for the shot.

  • Phoenix shot very high by Harvey – 16′

  • Paul pushes away Trejo’s low cross – 19′

  • Trejo shot on target goes straight at Paul, bats off his hands and over for corner – 20′

  • PHX corner – 20′

    Paul parries it, ball eventually cleared. Phoenix retains possession.

  • Phoenix another corner – 21′

    Header very wide.

  • Miss cross to Wolfgang – 24′

    Can’t make contact on a good pass.

  • Mfeka slow shot on target – 26′

    Good movement in transition. Johnny with the feed.

  • Phoenix corner – 28′

    Cleared out.

  • Oakland shot on target – 39′

    Wolfgang shot from close distance after great feed by Johnny. Rodriguez broke past a defender to square a ball centrally. Prentice re-directs a ball but Novos is there for the save. Best chance of the match for either side.

  • Wolfgang shot high – 42′

    Good work in transition. Good feed by Cedeno.

  • Phoenix blew a good counter – 45+3′

  • First half notes:

    Pretty even match thus far, Roots probably look the better side in terms of chances gained. Oakland has 5 shots with 2 on target to Phoenix’s 6 shots, 2 on target. Even possession-wise with Roots having 49 percent.

  • Phoenix shot blocked – 49′

  • Wolfgang shot blocked – 50′

  • Formella shot on target, easily handled – 53′

  • Paul dives on a loose ball in front of net – 55′

    Trejo just couldn’t handle it.

  • Wolfgang breaks towards net, but couldn’t break his defender – 56′

  • Roots free kick – 57′

    About 20 yards above penalty area. Lindo and Memo above it.

    Ball in by Lindo, goes to keeper.

  • Nearly a giveaway in the back for Roots. Ball back to Paul, heavy touch nearly gives it to Phoenix – 61′

  • Phoenix corner – 66′

    Sloppy play back to Paul by Barbir.

    Cleared out. Can’t get break past midfield.

  • Phoenix HUGE opportunity missed- 67′

    Gallardo puts one wide after a perfect feed by Trejo.

  • Johnny ball targets Reid, near change – 69′

  • Sloppy moments from Roots – 72′

    Bad giveaways in the back. Lucky to not be down.

  • Gomez on for Napo – 73′

  • Phoenix’s Harvey shot just wide, presses high and shoots to over the net – 78′

    More giveaways in the back.

  • Reid shot blocked – 79′

    Good work in transition. Would’ve been from distance.

  • ROOTS GOAL – 82′

    ITS 1-0 WITH 7 MINUTES LEFT. Great interplay by Oakland. Cedeno wins the ball at midfield, ball goes to Johnny, who kicks it inside to Lindo. He sends the pass out to Formella FOR THE GOAL.

  • Emrah and Pelaez coming on for Lindo and Johnny – 88′

  • Roots free kick midway in Phoenix side- 90′

  • Roots get another free kick on right side outside of penalty area – 90′

    Draws ccorner.

  • Roots corner – 90+1′

    Plays short. Ball falls to Pelaez and he nearly scores. Puts it just wide.

  • Phoenix free kick – 90+2′

    Ball in, Paul claims.

  • Phoenix equalizes – 90+2′

    Gallardo gets a ball in to Arteaga, header goal. Absolutely perfect pass by Galalrdo.

  • REID NOOOOO. He has a 1-o-1 opportunity and he tries to cut inside. His shot takes a deflection and saved by Novo. It ends 1-1. Exciting end after a sloppy performance by Roots.

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