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Three reasons to watch Defiance versus Phoenix Rising

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Undefeated on the year at Cheney Stadium, Tacoma faces their toughest challenge yet in 12-3-5, +24 Phoenix.

Tom Brewitt rides Sam Adeniran’s back after Thursday night’s victory.
Charis Wilson courtesy of Seattle Sounders and Tacoma Defiiance

Throughout the USL Championship there are certain giants. Teams so good they may as well be in a separate division above the Championship. Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, El Paso, Louisville, and Phoenix are just a cut above. For Tacoma Defiance’s impressive home streak to continue they must topple a giant — Phoenix Rising’s first visit to Tacoma in two years is more than a challenge.

Rising are 4-1-0, +2 on the road against Defiance/S2. Tacoma are undefeated at Cheney Stadium in 2021, 6-0-3, +9 with three clean sheets.

Wade Webber’s men have risen to so many challenges in 2021. Using squad rotation to remain fresh, a team-first ethos to stand by each other, and defending every foot of the pitch, Defiance are not just the best they’ve ever been, they are in contention to be one of the best in the second tier of USL Championship teams. A win or a draw against Phoenix puts them back in 2nd in the Pacific. A win moves them to 3rd best in the West.

After Thursday’s win, coach Webber said, “I mean, if I’m honest I’m tickled that we are… it’s September and we’ve wanted, from the minute this S2/Tacoma Defiance experience began, to play meaningful games late in the season because that matters to a young player. A game where your performance can influence the result, which influences perhaps our ability to play another day.”

Will the Baymen rise and influence their ability to play not just in September and October, but late into November?

Why You Should Watch

  • There’s No Better Soccer Region In The Country: Sounders are first in the West; Reign are 2nd in the NWSL; Defiance are 3rd in the Pacific and 6th in the West, capable of leaping to 2nd/4th with the proper result. Every pro team in the region isn’t just good, they’re among the best.
  • Sam Adeniran: His goals may or may not indicate that he’s a routine scorer, but when he does score it’s magnificent. Adeniran’s goals are the type you cannot miss. His whirling winner on Thursday night will almost certainly be up for the Goal of the Week.
  • Ray Serrano: The ‘02 is having a quietly exceptional season. Playing as a wide forward, underneath in the box-4, or as a wingback, Ray’s 2021 is his best season yet. He leads the team with six assists, and also has two goals. He’s only started 10 of his 16 games, and leads the team in non-PK xG+xA/90, just edging out Adeniran. Defiance may just have three USL-level right wingbacks.

How to Watch

Match date/kickoff time: Sunday, September 5, 1:30 PM PT

Venue: Cheney Stadium | Tacoma, WA

Online Streaming: ESPN+

Defiance Absences: There are no injuries to report. Carlos Anguino is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Sota Kitahara is on loan to FC Pinzgau Saalfelden in Austria until the end of 2021. Azriel Gonzalez is on loan to FC Edmonton through the 2021 CPL season.

Rising: To be announced.

If you are at the stadium, remember that Cheney Stadium is acting on Dr. Chen’s health order a couple days early.