Phoenix Rising FC goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo has been impressive since his arrival on loan at the club from Argentina's Lanus, with his 27 saves ranking third in the league. | Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC
Over the past few years, there have been some impressive seasons put together by goalkeepers in Phoenix Rising FC’s net.
Even a season ago, with the club’s overall difficulties in a down campaign, Ben Lundt still shone to the point of being nominated for the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year award while posting 115 saves, a save percentage of 69.1 percent, and a goals-prevented (goals conceded–minus–expected goals on target conceded) mark of -4.4.
With Lundt’s transfer to St. Louis CITY SC in Major League Soccer, the club acquired Rocco Rios Novo – the young Argentine with a prodigious background and resume – on loan from Argentine club Lanus to take up the mantle.
So far, he’s lived up to the billing.
Rios Novo has been a key part of Phoenix’s start to the season. His 27 saves – some of which have been breathtaking – rank third in the league. While his goals-against average sits at 1.43 through seven games, the 20-year-old’s impact is on a similar track to Lundt’s with a -1.87 goals-prevented mark so far. Add his passing accuracy in distribution (87.6 percent) and ability to play sweeper in Head Coach Juan Guerra’s system and you have – according to American Soccer Analysis – one of the league’s elite goalkeepers so far this season.
As the starter for Argentina’s U-17 Men’s World Cup squad, Rios Novo found his way into the spotlight. While last year at Atlanta United FC might have seemed a step back, numbers-wise, in Phoenix things appear to be once again moving in the right direction.
Here’s who else caught our eye over the past weekend of action…
- Joshua Wynder, Louisville City FC – Another solid outing by the young center back, who led all players in his side’s clash with Memphis in winning 11 total duels and 3 of 4 tackles.
- Collin Smith, Birmingham Legion FC – The FC Dallas loanee came on at halftime of Legion FC’s comeback win against Harford and was sharp, completing 13 of 15 passes and winning 2 of 2 tackles.
- Danny Rios, Las Vegas Lights FC – The Houston Dynamo loanee made his presence felt in Lights FC’s 1-1 draw at San Antonio, winning 3 of 3 tackles and 4 of 5 duels in 45 minutes of action.
- Miles Lyons, El Paso Locomotive FC – The 20-year-old had to come on in a pinch after an early injury to Marc Navarro in San Diego and was solid at the back, winning a game-high 3 of 3 tackles and 5 of 7 duels.
- Ray Serrano, Louisville City FC – Serrano continued his comeback from injury with a first assist of the season while also notching three chances created and defensively recording 2 of 3 tackles.