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Two Phoenix Rising players considered for special award

© Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Even though the USL offseason has been underway for almost a month, the 2023 Champions, Phoenix Rising FC, got even more recognition after a year that couldn’t be scripted.

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This week, the voting for USL Goal of the Year closed with Rising forward Manuel Arteaga and midfielder Emil Cuello featured on the ballot of 32 players.

On Aug. 23, Arteaga received a ball from the edge of the Las Vegas Lights’ box from teammate Danny Trejo.

With his back facing the Vegas goal, Arteaga flicked the ball up in the air to attempt a bicycle kick.

Audaciously, Arteaga’s ended up pulling off a skillful finish in the 53rd minute of a 3-2 Phoenix win.

As for Cuello, he score multiple goals from long-range this past season, including an equalizer for 30 yards out against Orange County SC on Sept. 30.

But the one that the USL put up for consideration for Goal of the Year was arguably the most important goals in Phoenix Rising’s history.

In the Western Conference Final vs. Sacramento Republic SC on Nov. 6, Cuello scored a 90+2′ winner to punch Phoenix’s ticket to the USL Championship Final.

Unfortunately for Cuello (23%) and Arteaga (24%), they were edged out in voting by San Antonio FC midfielder Jorge Hernandez (30%) in Group F.

To look at the first round results for USL’s Goal of the Year, CLICK HERE.

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Alec Cipollini is a reporter of the Arizona Coyotes and Cardinals for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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