October 6, 2008
I have a feeling that Puerto Rico's refs could join Montreal's in Rhinos history.
Although, after the two red cards on Friday night to Puerto Rico, my guess is that they weren't too happy with the quality of officiating here.
Even with having expectations of advancing to next Sunday's Final heading into last night's game and the fact that this could be the biggest meltdown since the infamous PK shootout loss in the USOC against the Revs, this team did get a lot farther than many would have dreamed when they got off to a rocky start.
The interesting thing will be what can they do this offseason.
I would expect Scott Vallow back in goal.
On defense, they have Kenney Bertz under contract and I would expect that John Ball and Ross Smith will be brought back. The two big questions will be whether they can get Danny Earls and Scott Palguta to return.
In the midfield, there will be questions about whether they can re-sign Luke Kreamalmayer, how much they can expect from Steve Guppy, and what to do down the middle with Ze Roberto having a season ending injury and Johnny Menyongar's contract being up.
And up top is the ultimate question mark. Matthew Delicate works hard, but he hasn't been that 10+ goal forward year in and year out that this team needs. Alen Marcina didn't show a whole lot and Mauricio Salles was flashy, but not a consistent goal producer.
Darren Tilley, Steve Guppy, Matthew Ford, and Rob Clark will have an entire off season to mold the team how they see fit. I would have high hopes for next year's squad given what they did this season.
News & Notes:
- If you want to welcome the team back to town, head out to the Greater Rochester Airport around 10:30pm this evening. They will be flying in on JetBlue flight 36 at Gate A5 from NYC-Kennedy. Right now the flight is supposed to land at 10:29pm per the airport's website.
- Chris Economides is out as President, GM, and part owner of the Carolina RailHawks per TriSoccerFan.com. It will be interesting to see what this means for Scott Schweitzer and the RailHawks-Rhinos rivalry.
- In case you care, Vancouver will host Puerto Rico at 7pm ET and the game will be on the Fox Soccer Channel.
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.