Prior to the Olympics, people wondered who would step up in the absence of Abby Wambach.

After Natasha Kai stepped up in OT versus Canada in the Quarterfinals, you have Angela Hucles scoring twice in the Semifinals as the US dispatched Japan 4-2 to advance to the Gold Medal Game on Thursday morning.

The US will face Brazil for the Gold as they defeated Germany 4-1 in the other Semifinal today. 

Will the US have enough left in the tank to avenge their 2007 World Cup Semifinal loss to Brazil? 

The one thing that this tournament should tell people is that they should never underestimate this team's resolve. They could have packed up and headed home after their slow start versus Norway in their first match of group play.

But, they didn't and they have gotten to the Gold Medal Match thanks to strong play and a little luck.

And they'll need both to come home with the Gold!

Rhinos come up big against Minnesota

D& - Match Report

D& - Notes

Devo's Direct Kicks


With the Rhinos getting docked a point on Friday and Andrew Gregor being suspended on Saturday made the old stand by that "Every game is a must win" ring true.

The Rhinos were struggling having gone 0-3-1 in their previous 4 matches. Injuries were taking their toll. And a team that was breathing down their necks were coming into their house.

And the Rhinos responded with a solid 3-1 win over the Thunder. 

The win puts the Rhinos alone in 6th place today and are that lost point behind Atlanta and Seattle where they would be in a three way tie for 4th.

New Rhino Daniel Antunez, playing due to Ze Roberto's injury and Gregor's suspension, scored the game winner, Luke Kreamalmayer jumped into the team scoring lead with a goal and an assist, and former Thunder forward Johnny Menyongar scored his second goal of the season versus his former club.

The Rhinos now get to prepare for the Atlanta Silverbacks who visit PAETEC Park on Saturday

News & Notes:

- The Rhinos released fan favorite Rey "Boom Boom" Martinez on Friday. On Kick This!, head coach Darren Tilley didn't expand on the reason why Rey was let go, but did mention that Rey needed to commit himself to the game more.

This isn't the first time that I've heard talk that Rey needed to become a more dedicated professional. There have been questions about Rey's fitness and off the field endeavors before. But, Rey's infectious smile and outgoing personality, along with his highly skilled game on the field, meant that he may be the most popular offensive player to ever score 8 goals for the Rhinos.

I hope Rey's Rhinos career can follow the path that John Ball's has taken and that Rey has a second tour of duty here in Rochester down the road.

- is reporting that the LA Galaxy will have a press conference at 2pm today to introduce Bruce Arena as the team's new head coach. It's going to be interesting to see how this works out given how things went in NY for Arena.

- Luis Bueno's latest at talks about how Chivas USA and the Galaxy are too mediocre for LA's soccer culture. I wonder what he thinks of the Red Bulls given the NY Cosmos history?

- The Rhinos may be getting some unexpected good news out of the scoreless draw between Charleston and Atlanta. Macoumba Kandji left the match in the 20th minute with an injury that the Atlanta website didn't go into detail about.

Perhaps the Rhinos won't have to hope that the Red Bulls acquire Kandji this week after all!

- There are a couple more details about Kenney Bertz's return that I've learned over the past few days. Rhinos President and GM said that Bertz is signed through 2010 and that there isn't a club option involved in that last year of the deal. Kenney was on Saturday's edition of Kick This! and he said that he and Luke Kreamalmayer talked and Kenney will wear the #44 for the rest of this season and get the #4 jersey in 2009. And the Rhinos are hoping that the US Soccer Federation will clear the Bertz signing before Saturday's game.

- If you were glued to the Michael Phelps story over the weekend, you weren't the only one. Here is coverage of the US Women's Olympic Soccer Team and DC United glued to the coverage of the US's Golden Boy.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or Feel free to send any comments or complaints to James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.