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Sometimes after a poor skid of results, a win can mean more than just three points. Following up a set of sub-par performances with a win on the road in San Antonio proved just that for Phoenix Rising.
“It’s massive,” Rising striker Claudio Repetto said. “This is like a turnaround. We needed a big win on the road, especially. I think mentally it’s going to help us a lot.”
Rising winger Marcus Epps said the result reminded the team of what it needed to do to grind out victories.
“It just shows us that if we bear down, prepare correctly during the week, take the right notes and mindset into the game, that three points is ours,” Epps said. “I think that showed, and all we can do is repeat the same steps this week and hopefully get the three points next week.”
That doesn’t mean the players are getting carried away, though.
“I think right now, that no one is happy,” coach Rick Schantz said. “They’re not overjoyed with the result. They know right away that they have two more games this week and they have to be extremely focused and extremely competitive again. Both trainings have been much harder than I would have expected on a short turnaround.”
Rising rotated heavily on Saturday. Some of those changes were due to injury, although others — including replacing Epps and Santi Moar on the wings — were due to recent matches.
“I’m here to help the team win, however that looks,” Epps said. “That was just my mentality coming into this game, and it paid off. You can’t predict what’s going to happen, but all you can do is control how you can respond.”
After previous struggles which saw Rising players grow frustrated but not always put that into their play, Schantz saw something different from the squad on Saturday.
“We knew it was going to be very, very difficult,” he said. “The guys didn’t stop. At halftime, I wish you could have seen our locker room. I didn’t have to say a word. Everybody was in there motivating each other. They were talking about what they saw, what they needed.
“I told them the team was theirs. These are hard workers, and they fight for Rising.”
Rising is looking to carry the momentum from that match into its two games this week.
“Any time you win on the road in USL is impressive,” Schantz said. “It’s not easy. To win at a stadium that we’ve never won before and to kind of get that off of our back and to have a good feeling moving forward is important.”