Tag Archives: Phoenix Rising FC

El Trafico: Tristan Blackmon, “It’s a great rivalry for the city.”

Official LAFC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

From spending three loan spells with Phoenix Rising FC to raising the Supporters’ Shield, there is no slowing down for LAFC’s right back Tristan Blackmon.

The Las Vegas native became interested in the game at an early age in part to his mother having played herself in high school and looking up to legends like Ronaldinho, “soccer came second nature” to him growing up.

“[It] was an interesting lifestyle in terms of soccer in Vegas growing up. Playing club there weren’t many teams out there so I found myself venturing to tournaments in California or other states nearby to get good competitive games in.”

Like most, the LA Galaxy was his first MLS experience. Now on the opposite side of the rivalry – Tristan is grateful to be a part of history.

“It’s a great rivalry for the city. I think there’s going to be a lot of historic moments between these two teams in the future. This is going to be a long live rivalry for soccer in America. It’s awesome to be a part of the birth of that.”

Drafted third overall in 2018 MLS SuperDraft on January 19, 2018; signing on February 22 – the 23-year-old is living the player’s dream. Crediting the club’s “family lifestyle” to helping him cope with the growing pressures and successfulness of another season.

“I think coming in – the club welcomed me with open arms which made it very easy for me to transition into this type of lifestyle. All of us are a huge family and every day we are reminded of that coming into the facility. Recognizing that I’m part of something special definitely makes being here a lot easier.”

During his rookie year, Blackmon made his professional debut in a 1-0 win over Seattle on March 4 and earned his first MLS start in a 1-1 draw vs. DC United on May 26. Including, appearing in ten regular season MLS matches, five starts, for 491 minutes played.

While on loan to USL’s side Phoenix Rising FC, he posted eight starts across all competitions including the 2018 USL Cup final. Tristan returned to Phoenix for his third loan spell this season – making his first appearance on April 6 in a 0-0 draw over Fresno FC before returning to LA for the remainder of the season.

“I think the experience of going on loan definitely gave me confidence and getting games in. Just kind of feeling myself out again because I wasn’t playing too much last year here,” Tristan continues. “I’ve been playing a decent amount of games this year. And I feel like the team has helped me pushed to be a become a better player – which excites me.”

Tristan kicked off his second year with the Black & Gold on May 24 in the team’s 4-2 victory over Montreal Impact – posting his first career goal and assist on a memorable night. Blackmon has logged in one goal, four assists, 1377 minutes going into the postseason.

The young defender is fortunate to have veteran teammates like Carlos Vela and Walker Zimmerman to help guide him.

“I think not only on the field but off the field, these guys have really shown a humble side. [It’s] more like a brotherhood. [..] The veterans have helped me along the way in my path and my journey. And hopefully, I can shed that light on some young players in the future the same way they have on me.”

With another thrilling edition of El Trafico looming – Tristan and co. are ready. LAFC has been unsuccessful at subduing its rival in the five-game series. However, Blackmon is optimistic they will finally get the win with the team’s mentality they’ve had all year.

“We want to smash records and make history this year. In doing that we’re going to need to take down [LA Galaxy] – I feel like it was going to end up this way regardless. There’s always going to be an opponent in your way when you’re pushing to get trophies and results. At the end of the day, we want to get a win and we want to set the tone for the rest of the playoffs. But first, we have to make sure we handle business on Thursday night and I think everybody is up for the challenge.”

With a bye week and home-field advantage in hand, LAFC will face the LA Galaxy for a chance to advance to the Western Conference Finals at home on Thursday, October 24. Kickoff is at 7:30p PST.

Featured Image:  @LAFC

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My Ball-Shaped Valentine New York Red Bulls

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench


*smooth jazz*

Hey… I know it’s been a long time. 

You don’t know how much I’ve missed you. It’s driven me near madness. I’ve tried to find something to take your place, but nothing does it quite like you.

That’s right folks: The New York Red Bulls are back for another season! (What did you think I meant?)

Before RBNY gets back to the business of the regular season, CONCACAF Champions League, and the Lamar Hunt Open Cup, they are spending some time in the Arizona desert participating in the Mobile Mini Sun Cup. First up: tournament hosts Phoenix Rising.

Playing in the Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex, this USL club is most notably led by player and part-owner Didier Drogba, of Chelsea and Montreal Impact fame. But they do not rest on the laurels of one man, which I respect.

FIRST TIME JITTERS: Now that the scrimmages are done, this is the first game that really tested the team in their most realistic form. And while no one in the starting lineup was new to the Red & White, things were shaky, to say the least. The dreaded “own goal” goblin tapped defender Aurelien Collin in the 7th minute to put PHX ahead.

Many opportunities for forwards Bradley Wright-Phillips and Daniel Royer to score went unfinished throughout the game and phenom Tyler Adams was continually shut down by the Rising defense. And I can only assume Alex Muyl is trying to make himself bigger when on the attack, but it still seems to be so much arm flailing and scrambling.

I know I’ve said that about Muyl before; however, I also say when he’s switched on, he’s a force to be reckoned with. With his header off of defender Kemar Lawrence‘s cross, he leveled the game in the 37th minute.

NEW PARTNERS: It takes some getting used to when the roster sees so many changes, for players and fans alike. A number of players have left Red Bull New York. Several other players have come in, hoping to make their own place on the team. They’re young, they’re fast, and they’re ready to take control. And still, others have yet to make their way onto the pitch… the fans are not-so-patiently waiting…

TAKING CHARGE: With the departure of the 2nd team captain in as many years, there has been much speculation as to who will be wearing the armband for the 2018 season. Tonight the honor went to Danny Royer, but I don’t think that’s where it will stay. Following the speculation that Kemar Lawrence would be heading overseas this year, he has stated that he is ready to take on more of a leadership role with the team, although that doesn’t necessarily mean the role of team captain. Others have suggested Wright-Phillips, goalkeeper Luis Robles, and midfielders Felipe and Sean Davis. I do have a preference… but I’m not telling.

GETTING CREATIVE: One of the hallmarks of RBNY’s play is the use of trick set pieces, even though their effectiveness had fallen away last season. And the first attempt at one in the 48th minute was a misfire that resulted in Davis just going for goal only for the ball to be caught by PHX goalkeeper Zac Lubin.

A SATISFYING END: Following the second goal from PHX in the 71st minute, the Red Bulls really looked as though they were going to disappoint this girl. But suddenly, French international Vincent Bezecourt nailed a shot in the 91st minute to level the game again. So maybe they’d end in a draw… not terribly pleasing. That was when the referee called a foul against PHX just outside of the 18′ in the 92nd minute. I rolled my eyes when I saw 4 players behind the ball, thinking to myself ‘oh, these things never work…’

Except it did. Felipe rolled the ball to his left and Panamanian international Fidel Escobar launched it into the back of the net. That’s the kind of climax you can really enjoy.

I’d say I could use a cigarette, but I don’t smoke. Thanks for the early Valentine’s Day gift, guys. Let’s do this every chance we get, okay?

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