While their season wouldn't have been over on Friday night, the Rhinos really did need those three points when the Seattle Sounders paid a visit to PAETEC Park. And things weren't looking good when in the 12th minute USL 1st Division scoring leader Cam Weaver put away a sitter off a corner by Roger Levesque.
But, the Rhinos dominated possession for most of the match. Rhinos leading scorer Matthew Delicate leveled the match a couple of minutes before half time and Johnny Menyongar put the Rhinos ahead for good with a goal in the 60th minute.
Aaran Lines was the latest Rhino to get a shot running things from the central midfield. And the New Zealand native's skill on the ball helped the offense run a little smoother.
Outside of the blown far post assignment on the goal and a couple of other chances created largely because the Rhinos were pushing forward so much, the Rhinos defense was pretty solid. Scott Palguta appears to have finally gotten over the bad turnover early in the Miami game and Bertz, Sanfilippo, and Vallow continue their solid play in back.
Now the Rhinos are seven points behind Montreal with a game in hand and are tied with Charleston at 31 points for second in the league. But, the Rhinos have 3 games in hand over the Battery and nobody has games in hand over the Rhinos. So, the Rhinos are in a fairly comfortable spot right now when it comes to trying to get a first round bye. Although, given how that worked for Rochester and Montreal last year, I'm not sold on the bye week being such a great thing.
The Revs are coming!
On Wednesday evening the New England Revolution will become the first MLS team to play the Rhinos at PAETEC Park. Although, given the Rhinos winning record at friendly confines of Frontier Field, perhaps MLS teams will be happy to see PAETEC Park when they come to visit the Rhinos in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup?
The Revolution are coming off a 1-1 draw in Kansas City yesterday where they needed a stoppage time goal by Steve Rolston from Clint Dempsey and Pat Noonan to salvage the road point. New England head coach Steve Nicol has been known to rest his stars in the Open Cup and he did play every one of his top guys for a full ninety yesterday, except for reignining MLS MVP Taylor Twellman who was subbed out in the 69th minute.
I'd love to see Dempsey, Twellman, Noonan, Ralston, Joseph, and Reis play at PAETEC Park on Wednesday. But, I'd also like it if they sat and watched the game as well as it would give the Rhinos a better chance at advancing.
But, I also think that this team could go toe to toe with a talented New England team that has had trouble getting results as of late. My guess is that Nicol will play his B squad and the Rhinos will advance.
Ah, the joy of political football.....
I would caution Rhino fans to not get too excited. When I recently asked Frank DuRoss about any updates on the Real Salt Lake story he simply said that there was "no news".
Salt Lakes stadium plan may be in critical condition. But, I don't see the patient being transported to Rochester for a life saving operation.
As if the August 11th match vs Montreal wasn't big enough already
It will be very interesting to see what Doug Miller Night entails.
Will #19 get formerly retired by the club and join Mickey Trotman's #14 as the only numbers that are retired by the team?
Will Doug Miller be making a comeback with the Rhinos so that he can play an official game at PAETEC Park?
Who knows what Doug Miller Night will entail. But I can say that I hope the team markets the heck out of the night and they get a packed house to pay homage to the most electrifying player in team history.
What will the roster freeze deadline bring the Rhinos?
Yesterday, Coach Calloway hinted that the Rhinos would be making a couple of moves before the USL roster freeze deadline of 4pm on Monday afternoon.
Last year's big move was to sign Billy Andracki to be the team's "emergency goalkeeper" in the event that Dusty Hudock or Scott Vallow were to get injured. With this year's squad lacking a veteran backup goalkeeper behind Scott Vallow, I wouldn't be surprised if Andracki was once again signed to a contract.
To make room on the roster, it has been hinted that either Juninho or Jonathon Bolanos could be released to clear a roster spot. The good news for the players is that they are on guaranteed contracts. So, they will still collect their paychecks through the end of the season whether they are officially on the roster or not. And since it looks like neither player looks to be in the mix for the rest of this season, it doesn't really make any sense to keep them on the roster if the team needs the roster spot.
The only question now is whether they can get a deal done for another midfielder or defender before the deadline. Personally, I'm not holding my breath for them to pull off a major deal.
But we shall see.................
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.