Memphis, Tenn. – Memphis 901 FC returns to AutoZone Park to take on Phoenix Rising FC Saturday night looking to gain three points and extend their five-match home winning streak.
Memphis moved into the No. 2 spot in the eastern conference standings after failing to hit the back of the net against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. 901 FC and the Rowdies split the regular season series as they entered the second half of the season.
This Saturday marks the first time Memphis and the perennial power Phoenix will take the field against each other.
Phoenix currently sits at 11th place in the Western Conference standings. Rising has earned one point over their past five matches with four straight losses before drawing with Orange County SC 2-2 on July 2.
901 FC logged their fourth loss of the season after being outshot by the Rowdies 11-8 and falling behind with one shot on target to Tampa’s four.
Memphis gave up two goals in the first 20 minutes of the match. 901 FC has gone 1-4-1 when conceding first after giving up only five goals in the first 30 minutes throughout the season.
Memphis moved to 11-4-2 on the season with the loss, tightening the race between the top three teams in the eastern conference.
901 FC has not shown back-to-back losses in the 2022 season and are currently on a five-match winning streak at AutoZone Park, averaging an impressive 3.56 goals per match at home.
Memphis looks to add another win to boost their resume as Phoenix looks to save their playoff chances as they enter the back half of their season.
“I mentioned to the team after the (Tampa Bay) match, we have to go above and beyond. We’re one of the top three teams in the east right now and we deserve that, but in order to keep it or get better we have to keep pushing it and go above and beyond. We’re not going to surprise any teams.” – Ben Pirmann
“We’re playing the Western Conference regular season champions. I know they haven’t had the results that they wanted lately, but for us, we have to respond. It’s all about us and what we’re going to do. They’re a top club in the league. They’ve won a lot of matches and regular season games over their history so we want to be very respectful of them and what they can do to punish us. We’ve got to make sure that we’re up for it from the beginning. We’ve got to play a little bit better football between the lines in attack and defense and we need to transition a little bit better.” – Ben Pirmann
The Race for the Golden Boot
Phillip Goodrum has been the jet-fuel as the man up top for one of the most dangerous attacking teams in the league. The forward has netted nine goals this season, currently tied for fifth in the USL Championship. Memphis is unbeaten in the eight matches Goodrum found the back of the net including a 5-2 statement victory on June 5 when he scored two goals against his former club ATL United 2.
Midfielder Jeremy Kelly has been at the center of the 901 FC attack since moving from the back line this season, tied for the league lead with six assists in 17 appearances. Kelly was tabbed as the USL Championship Player of the Month in May after a stretch of three goals and three assists in four victories for 901 FC.
Set Piece Superstar
Aaron Molloy has made his name as one of the most dangerous legs from the set piece in the USL Championship. All four of the midfielder’s assists this season have come off of the set piece, but not before scoring his first goal of the season on a free kick strike from 20 feet out against Oakland Roots. Molloy is currently ranked 15th in chances created with 27 this season and ninth in total crosses with 87.