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MEXICO CITY — Phoenix Rising took the field for the first time in its Mexico City training camp Monday afternoon.
The Arizonan team landed in Mexico City on Sunday. They will remain abroad for seven nights.
While in Mexico, Rising is using the facilities of the Club Universidad Nacional, more commonly known as Pumas.
“It was good to get the guys out,” Rising coach Juan Guerra said after the session. “Good to shake the game and the flight out of their legs.
“It was just a regen session. They’re getting used to the altitude. They’re getting used to the weather. Tomorrow, we’ll open up spaces a little bit more and we’ll do a bit of a gameplan for the game on Wednesday.”
That game on Wednesday morning will be a friendly against Pumas U-20s, followed up by a clash with UNAM’s reserve side, Pumas Tabasco, on Saturday afternoon. The squad is also planning to take in a Liga MX match at the storied Estadio Azteca, Mexico’s national stadium, among other team-building activities and meetings.
Separately, Rising’s leadership is set to make the most of the trip, holding meetings with Liga MX teams in the hope of building future relationships.
However, a handful of Rising’s players were unable to make the trip due to personal reasons. Among them is José Andres Hernández, who according to a club spokesperson, remained in Arizona “due to immigration concerns.” Hernández will instead appear at a community event in Phoenix this week. 2022 team captain Darnell King was also unable to join the team on the trip south.
“It’s a bit disappointing [to not have the whole squad], but at the end of the day, this is also good for us,” Guerra said. “It gives us the ability to rotate the squad, to see players in different roles and play in different ways. The other day, for example, Carlos Harvey played as a center-back because we had to adapt and adjust to a few things because Kev [Lambert] couldn’t play that game, and he had a great game.
“I don’t see it so much as a disappointment, but as an opportunity to see different things.”