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Phoenix Rising Shoot For First Title

Published: Saturday, October 31, 2020 - 5:05am

After a tumultuous season, the Phoenix Rising are looking to bring home their first title Sunday night. The club is playing in the United Soccer League’s championship game for the second time in three years.

Winners of the USL's Western Conference, the Rising will play the Tampa Bay Rowdies for the title that has so far eluded head coach and Tucson native Rick Schantz.

“To win the big trophy and bring it back to Phoenix would be something that I think that this community is missing and the whole state of Arizona. It would be the first major soccer championship in Arizona and I think that would be pretty cool,” Schantz said.

The game will be played in Tampa, but it should have been in Phoenix. The Rising forfeited the home field as penalty for an incident involving a gay slur by midfielder Junior Flemmings in September.

Schantz himself just recently returned from administrative leave for initially defending Flemmings, who was placed on suspension for the rest of his contract.

The Rising lost in the title game to Louisville two years ago.