I went down to watch the Rhinos practice today. Partly to see how the team looks and partly to see how PAETEC Park looks less than a week before it's big unveiling. What I saw was both breathtaking and scary.
First off, the field looks great. It's huge, it's green, and it just pops. The only unusual thing about watching play was the infill kicking up all over the place. It kind of reminded me of my high school football stadium after it got an AstroTurf over sand based playing surface and the sand would kick up all the time.
I took a few minutes to sit in my seats and I have to say the view was stunning. While a lot of people wouldn't pick the location that I did, I know I'm going to really enjoy the view from my seats. And it's going to be an immeasurable improvement over my seats behind home plate at Frontier Field.
The scary part was how much work was left to be done. The video board and scoreboard are up, but there is trim around those two functional pieces, along with all of the permanent signage, that is left to be installed. The prorail has a similar issue as it is installed, but the permanent signage has yet to be installed.
Workers were feverishly working to finish up some of the concession stands, there was landscaping that needed to be completed, there were banners to be raised, flags to be installed, and probably a long list of more items that need to be crossed off before the opener.
Hopefully the unveiling of PaeTec Park will be like the Athens Olympics of a few years ago where people have no idea how they'll get things done in time, but it happens. But even if everything isn't picture perfect on Saturday, I won't mind. Especially if the team plays as well as it has so far this season.
As for the action on the field, here are some notes from practice:
- Juninho DaSilva was back at practice after not making the trip to Virginia Beach due to a groin injury. He didn't look like the injury was bothering him at all and was his usual dangerous self.
- Scott Palguta was at practice, but didn't take part in the scrimmage. It was likely just precautionary as he still has eight fresh stitches in his head.
- Nate Craft was not at practice. The first year Rhino missed the Virginia Beach trip with a stomach ailment.
- Jonathan Bolanos was at practice and took over for Willie Fitzpatrick as the ref in the second half of the scrimmage.
- Johnny Menyongar beat back up keeper Patrick Hannigan twice and looked dangerous a few more times. It's too bad he hasn't been as productive on game days.
- Connolly Edozien put a penalty kick past Scott Vallow as the captain guessed the wrong way and Edozien slotted the ball to Vallow's left.
- Players were taking the scrimmage very seriously as everyone wants to start, or at least play, in the PAETEC Park opener on Saturday. Hopefully they won't kill each other before then.
- USL 1st Division Team of the Week
- Scott Vallow and Scott Palguta were both named to the USL 1st
Division Team of the Week for Week 6. Palguta is the third Rhinos
defender to be named to the Team of the Week (Frankie SanFilippo in
Week 4 and Kenney Bertz in Week 5) and it's the second time this season
that Vallow has been so honored (Week 3).
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