The 2008 USL 1st Division regular season has come to a close and the Rhinos have drawn the Charleston Battery in the first round of the playoffs as the Rhinos finished 4th and Charleston won their tiebreaker with Seattle as they both finished tied for 5th with 40 points.
While Charleston won all three games this season (2-0 in Charleston on May 2nd, 1-0 in the home opener for the Rhinos on May 17th, and 3-1 in Charleston on June 28th), Charleston has not played well down the stretch going 1-6-3 in their last 10 league matches tothe Rhinos 4-4-2 in the final third of the season.
Charleston had four players hit double digits in points this season led by Randi Patterson (8 goals and 1 assist).Aaron King and Lazo Alavanja both had 6 goals and 2 assists on the season and Osvaldo Alonso had exactly 10 points with 4 goals and 2 assists.
The former Rhino angle will be in full effect with forward Ian Fuller, defender John Wilson, and starting goalkeeper Dusty Hudock all having previously played for Rochester.
Being the higher seed, the Rhinos have chosen to host theopening match at 7:35pm on Friday with the 2nd leg of the two game, total goals series being held at 8pm on Sunday. The good news for Rhinos fans that don't want to travel to South Carolina, the game will be the Fox Soccer Channel USL Game of the Week.
The Rhinos are reportedly working on a viewing party for fans to get together on Sunday evening.
The other first round match ups:
2nd seed Vancouver vs 7th seed Minnesota
3rd seed Montreal vs 6th seed Seattle
League champs Puerto Rico get a first round bye and the teams will be re-seeded with Puerto Rico getting the lowest remaining team in the semifinals.
News & Notes:
- The third game of the USWNT vs Ireland tour happened over the weekend and less than 6,000 came out to Toyota Park for the match that the US won 2-0. I wonder how many fans the USWNT would draw to PAETEC without Abby in the lineup?
- The Queens Chronicle has a story on the pitch for a 2nd NY City area MLS team.
- I wonder if QPR fans have seen prices go up anywhere near where they will go up for say Yankees and Mets fans when they open new ballparks next year or when the Jets and Giants get a new home?
- A phantom goal at a soccer match? No way....... How long before Watford wants the microchip ball that can electronically tell whether a goal has been scored?
- Ridge Mahoney's latest at SI.com pumps Shalrie Joseph's tires. I wonder how much longer it is before Joseph is allowed to move abroad by MLS and the Revs?
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.