Key Loan Signings Make Rising FC the Favorite Out West

Rising FC has been bolstered by major loan signings down the stretch this season.

Tempe, AZ- One month ago, all was not well for Phoenix Rising FC. The squad had conceded 4 goals each in three recent matches (all blowout losses), and fell to 4th place in the West. Goals were also hard to come by during that stretch, with the team scoring just 2 goals in five matches.With the team struggling to meet lofty expectations, PRFC General Manager Bobby Dulle made three loan signings to bolster the squad. First, right-back Saad Abdul Salaam joined the team from NYCFC. Later that week, center-back Tristian Blackmon and forward Shaft Brewer Jr. came to Phoenix from LAFC.

The results since then speak volumes. Phoenix Rising has won three straight matches by a combined 10-0 scoreline. But, is it mere coincidence that the squad has played its best football in the past month? Or, have the loan signings been the key to PRFC’s success?

Check out the defense and distribution numbers for Abdul Salaam and Blackmon. Now, compare those stats with those of other defenders on the squad. The difference is staggering! In short, Abdul Salaam and Blackmon have been better at winning duels, avoiding cards, and ball distribution than other starters at RB and CB. Their impact is recognized by stat nerds and tipsy supporters alike.

Brewer Jr. has not scored yet for PRFC, but the 18 year old attacker and USMNT U-20 member figures to play a role down the stretch. To top it all off, Phoenix Rising added 20 year old phenom Joshua Perez one month after LAFC signed the forward from Serie A side Fiorentina. He appeared for the USMNT at the 2015 U-17 World Cup and figures to be another impact starter up top for Phoenix.

The loan signings have some people speculating if PRFC is close to being approved for an MLS berth. In any case, these loan signings have already made a positive impact. With the postseason drawing near, Phoenix Rising added to its war chest at the perfect time. The rest of USL better watch out.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Blau/Firebird Rising

Bekki Morgan

Covering Racing Louisville on the Beautiful Game Network and the central NWSL teams on Co-host of Butchertown Rundown: A Racing Louisville Podcast. Find me on Twitter @bekki_morgan and my pod @ButchertownR.