Seven months after they met in a USL Championship match that drew national headlines when Landon Donovan
's San Diego Loyal forfeited a match it was leading at the half with playoff implications because Phoenix Rising star Junior Flemmings
directed a homophobic slur at San Diego's Collin Martin
, who is gay, the Rising and Loyal met again to open the 2021 season.
The occasion was the opening of the Rising's new 10,000-seat stadium at Wild Horse Pass, and it prevailed, 4-1. Spaniard Santi Moar
led the Rising with one goal and two assists.
The Rising allowed 50 percent capacity for the opener. The Rising's new home in the Gila River Indian Community, near Chandler, seats more than 3,000 more fans than its previous home in the Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community, near Scottsdale, held.
Phoenix is the first of three USL Championship teams that will open new stadiums in 2021. Colorado Springs' new 8,000-seat downtown stadium will open on May 21, while Charlotte begins play at the renovated 10,000-seat Memorial Stadium on June 5.
Queensboro FC, which will begin play in 2022, announced plans for a 7,500-seat stadium on the campus of York College in Queens.