Last night was an old time thriller with the Rhinos defeating the Carolina RailHawks 2-1 in front of a lively PAETEC Park crowd.
The Rhinos gained the three points thanks to a pair of goals by Hamed Diallo. Diallo got the fans going early with a goal in the 3rd minute when a nice through ball by John Ball got the Ivory Coast native alone o the keeper. Diallo walked around Chris McClellan and cooly put the ball into the top of the Carolina net.
The RailHawks answered back in the 11th minute when former Rhino Chris Carrieri played a cross into the Rhinos box, RailHawks forward Anthony Maher and Rhinos goalkeeper Chase Harrison collided at the ball, and Maher scrambled and booted the loose ball home before Harrison could corral the rebound.
The game entered a long stretch of chippy and uneven play. And deep in the second half, the Rhinos started to loose their legs a bit. In the 90th minute, Carolina was able to spring a counterattack after Stephen Shirley-Black had a shot from the top of the box blocked. The RailHawks had four players running at one lone Rhinos defender, Chris Aloisi. But rather than commit too soon, Aloisi kept retreating and the ball ended up on the foot of former Rhinos defender and current RailHawks captain Frankie Sanfilippo. Frankie's blast to Chase Harrison's right was calmed saved and the Rhinos were still in the game.
At the start of the third and final minute of stoppage time, the Rhinos earned a throw in well into Carolina territory. Scott Palguta threw the ball into Rey Martinez and Rey played the ball back to Palguta. Palguta was able to get up the left sideline a bit before whipping a beautiful cross into the RailHawks box where Diallo was unmarked and was able to head home the winner.
The win puts the Rhinos back into a first place tie with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Although, with the Rhinos having the most games played in the USL 1st Division, they are currently 5th in the standings on a points per game basis.
Johnny Menyongar really wants to stay here
On Thursday, I threw out some ideas about what I would do if I were the GM of the Rhinos and what I would look at possbily doing to improve the roster and deal with the current injury and availability issues that the Rhinos are facing.
I have been told that my idea of sending Johnny Menyongar to Minnesota was read by some as a rumor and that perhaps the Rhinos were actually shopping Johnny around the league.
I just want to take this opportunity to clarify that I have no knowledge whatsoever of the Rhinos talking to any other team about trades and this was purely an idea I was throwing out there for public consumption.
Personally, I'm glad to know that Johnny really wants to stay a Rhino and be a vital cog in the Rhinos drive for a championship.
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.