Cody Mizell returns ahead of United trip to Phoenix

That’s right, El Gato has returned. The club announced the return of our original #1 on Friday ahead of the trip to Phoenix. Some have said that he has unfinished business with Rising, but this is an opportunity for both the man and club.

It may have been a while since the United faithful have seen their first #1 between the sticks, but his heroics have continued to live on. Mizell still tops the club leaderboards in essentially all goalkeeper statistics. He’s also an MLS cup champion.

The unfortunate injury to Alex Tambakis opened up the opportunity for Mizell’s return. The announcement was made early on Friday, with United stating that it was a short-term loan, which, while bolstering the roster still potentially leaves United with only one keeper for the third round of the Open Cup.

United will have to cross that bridge next week. First though, they have a Saturday night clash under the lights at Wild Horse Pass. The match will be the first time the two clubs have faced each other since August of 2021 and only the third time since the 2019 season.

The 2022 season has been the start of a new beginning for both sides. So far, there is only a single point difference between the start of their respective seasons. Heading into the weekend, Rising have won two in a row and United have drawn two. The new look Rising squad hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations that many had for them so far.

In the last two matches though, they’ve started to look like the Phoenix Rising of previous years, but they still have questions. They’ve dealt with some injuries early, including Santi Moar who will miss both matches this week. They also haven’t been as good at the back, surrendering goals at a faster pace than they did in all of 2021.

Player to Watch

Luis Seijas – The Venezuelan midfielder finally seems to be settling in for Rising. He’s come on strong in recent matches and is turning into a difference maker. With the absence of Moar, Seijas will be called on even more to push the action out of the midfield.

Daniel Bruce looks to play in a cross against Las Vegas Legends (Credit: Seth Biddulph)

For United, the next five days are a chance for them to show that the unbeaten start is no fluke. The series with Rising has always been a close one and it’s one of the few that United have never found a win in. Rising have won the last two and really looked the better of the two sides. In a year of change, this could be the best opportunity that United have had to get the better of their opposition

Once again this season, United’s weakness has been the ability to close out matches. The first two weeks of the season, United seemed to be cleansing themselves of that demon, but late goals from Oakland and Orange County have kept the uneasiness at the end of matches alive for the supporters. Against Rising, United has to do two things; start fast and close strong. If they’re able to put Rising on the back foot early, Rising will have a hard time coming back.

Player to Watch

Neco Brett – An early Golden Boot contender, Brett has already found his stride. He’s meshing well United’s midfielders and has been playing himself into dangerous positions every week.

Saturday night’s match is scheduled to kickoff from Wild Horse Pass at 8:30 p.m. MT. The match will be streamed live domestically on ESPN+ and internationally on YouTube. Locally, the match will also be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM, via The TEAM app, and website.