Phoenix Rising FC has re-signed forward Dariusz Formella, who had six goals for the club after his midseason arrival from Oakland Roots SC. | Photo courtesy Christian Inoferio / Rio Grande Valley FC
PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC announced on Thursday the club had re-signed forward Dariusz Formella ahead of the 2024 USL Championship season, retaining the mid-season arrival that played a notable role in the club’s run to its first league title this November. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.
Formella was acquired via transfer from Oakland Roots FC on July 25, and ended the season with 12 goals in 36 appearances across the regular season and playoffs. The 28-year-old scored twice in Rising FC’s Western Conference Quarterfinal victory against San Diego Loyal SC to open the postseason, and created 22 chances and had a shooting accuracy rate of 59 percent.
Formella started all four matches during Phoenix’s playoff run, showcasing an ability to score late goals. His first goal for Phoenix came in just his third appearance for the club in the 85th minute of a 5-0 win vs. El Paso on August 12. Formella went on to score four more goals in the 89th minute or later during Phoenix’s run to claim the 2023 Championship Final.
“You followed us through playoffs,” Formella said to the crowd during the club’s postseason celebration. “Every game had late drama. We went to San Diego and scored in the last minute of extra time. We went to OC and scored three minutes before the finish of extra time. We went to Sacramento and scored in the 92nd minute. In Charleston, we were down 1-0. [Stenberg] scored a goal in the 90th minute.
“Every year, somebody will win this league, but no one did it the way we did. Four games in a row, last minute goals… We were down 0-2 in penalties in the final and we still won. So, if you have some problems in your life… If you are struggling with something… If you have some things that are not going the way you want them to go… just stay relaxed. Don’t panic – believe. Believe until the last second because you are special. This club is special. We are Phoenix!”
Dariusz Formella proved a key midseason acquisition for Phoenix Rising FC and figures to remain an important part of the club’s final third success as it moves into 2024. The 28-year-old had six goals in 889 minutes for Phoenix after his arrival, and his introduction into the starting lineup as Head Coach Juan Guerra reshuffled his lineup with Manuel Arteaga dropping to a super-sub role provided the impetus for Phoenix’s late-season run.
Between his appearances for Phoenix and Oakland Roots SC, 2023 marked the first campaign in which Formella recorded double-digit goals in a season in the Championship. Rising FC will be hoping for more of the same as Formella plays his first full campaign for the club next year.