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Bravo is big business for Phoenix Rising

By - Jun 16, 2017

By Orlando Manzo/For The Sporting Nation


Omar Bravo, a star of Phoenix Rising FC, is already making an impact with his team and with soccer fans in Arizona.

The 37-year-old forward signed with the team last February and is now attracting hundreds of soccer fans to matches at the Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex in Scottsdale. The Mexican international is the all-time leader scorer for Chivas de Guadalajara with 132 goals in 382 appearances.

Bravo has also played 66 games and scored 15 goals with the Mexican National Team. In addition, Bravo played in one of the most competitive leagues in Europe, as he played for Deportivo La Coruña of Spain in 2008.

This isn't the first time Bravo has played in Arizona. He spent the 2011 preseason in north Phoenix training with Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer. Since Bravo’s arrival, the team has sold out every home game for the USL season, which is something that had not happened before as Phoenix FC or Arizona United.

The team owners took their chances and invested in a new soccer stadium with a seating capacity of 6,200 fans. Equally important, Bravo’s acquisition has contributed to have a full stadium for every match.

Jose Bosch, media relations director of the team, has noticed the difference from last year, when the team only averaged 1,470 fans per game. This year, the team is averaging more than 6,500 fans, which is 334 more people than the stadium’s maximum capacity. Bosch points out that Bravo has made a huge impact attracting fans to the games. 

“We haven’t look up any hard numbers yet, but there is a lot of evidence when you look at the crowd. We see a lot of fans wearing a Chivas jersey, and fans staying after the games with posters and jerseys of Bravo wanting to get his autograph.” Bosch said.

Soccer fan Darcy Astrain is very happy with Bravo and thinks he can enrich the team and the league, hoping for one day that the team plays in MLS.

“I am really impressed with how he plays, I think he is a really good player," she said. "I also think that is time for Phoenix to get a good soccer team, I have been following soccer for years and usually when we go watch big games it's either for Mexico's national team or games for the Gold Cup every two years.” Astrain said.

On May 31, Fans were at the edge of their seats when Bravo was ready to shoot a penalty kick. Bravo was confident as he placed the ball far from the right hand of the goalkeeper. He scored the PK in the  85th minute to tie the game.

In that moment, the crowd exploded, they all got up from their seats and started to chant Bravo’s name in European style, “Ole Ole Ole Ole, Bravo, Bravo!”

Unfortunately, Phoenix Rising FC lost 2-1 in extra time against The San Francisco Deltas, which eliminates the team from the U.S. Open Cup.

Delta’s head coach Marc Dos Santos was very impressed with Bravo playing at a very good level, even at his age.

“Bravo is very good with the ball to his feet, technically he is very gifted and very experienced. He is not as dynamic as in the past but that’s normal,” Dos Santos said.

The Canadian coach didn’t stop there and continued flattering the team. “We have played a great club that has an incredible potential. You know, I am very impressed with what I saw here, and not only the city, the stadium and the capacity. I think this is an MLS city in my opinion.” Dos Santos concluded.

 

 

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