With the Rhinos falling 4-1 in Atlanta on Saturday night, it may be time to hit the panic button.
By looking at the USL 1st Division standings, the Rhinos shouldn't have to worry about missing the playoffs since eight teams advance to the postseason this year. But, with all the injuries and the team going 1-3-1 in their past five games, this team's psyche has to be battered right now.
The most recent injuries are Aaran Lines (abdominal muscle pull), T-Bone Bonseu (hamstring pull), and Nuno Santos (concussion). Coach Calloway expects Lines and Bonseu to miss the Seattle game on Saturday and I have yet to see an outlook on whether the concussion that Santos suffered in the Atlanta game will cause him to miss time.
The good news in goal is that Scott Vallow has his 10 week check up on Wednesday. If all goes well, Scott should at least get the all clear for full contact in practice. But we shall see.
Other comings and goings have John Ball leaving on Wednesday to play for the US futsal team in the Pan Am game in Rio. But, I would expect forward Hamed Diallo to be back from France by Saturday unless something unforeseen happens.
Getting a hot Seattle Sounders team on Saturday (4-1-0 in their last 5 games), isn't going to help the situation. And I'd say that hosting Minnesota on the 28th would be a get well game for the Rhinos. But, Minnesota pasted Montreal 3-0 at home last night, so who knows what will happen when they come to town.
At this point, it's strap on your seatbelt, because it's going to be a bumpy ride!
US U-20s fall in OT to Austria in Quarterfinals
While I agree with Ives Galarcep that there is nothing to be ashamed of in losing to Austria in the Quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup on Saturday, I think it's easy to say that the result was disappointing.
This US team was perhaps, on paper at least, the strongest team the US has sent to a U-20 championship. And by winning the tournament's "Group of Death", this team served notice that they were for real.
Unfortunately, the US was derailed in part due to an injury to first choice goalkeeper Chris Seitz and just some real bad luck and poor finishing versus Austria.
I hate to Monday Morning Manager the call to let Seitz play on Saturday, but he was obviously far from 100% and perhaps Brian Perk would have given the team a slightly better chance. Plus, resting Seitz for the Semifinals may have made him a little better when he got back on the field.
But in the end, all that really matters is that Austria was able to convert on one more chance than the US and they advanced to this week's Semifinal in Edmonton versus the Czech Republic who advanced past Spain 4-3 on PKs after playing 90 minutes of scoreless soccer and each team scored in the 30 minute Extra Time session.
One good thing is that Argentina defeated Mexico 1-0 in the other half of the draw. Argentina will face Chile who dispatched Nigeria by a 4-0 score yesterday. Thursday's semifinal in Toronto between Argentina and Chile should be a cracker.
RailHawks latest USL team to knock an MLS side out of the Open Cup
McColm Cephas scored in the 58th minute for Carolina and that's all they would need last night in the 3rd Round US Open Cup matchup between the USL 1st Division's Carolina RailHawks and the Chicago Fire of MLS.
Chicago joins the LA Galaxy, the Houston Dynamo, and DC United as MLS teams to get bounced by USL foes in the 3rd Round of the 2007 US Open Cup Tournament.
That result means that the New England Revolution could potentially get all the way through the tournament without facing another MLS team. At most, they would face an MLS team in the final, should they make it that far.
There was a lot of speculation on how the introduction of the SuperLiga between MLS and Mexican clubs would affect the US Open Cup and I think we now have an answer as DC and Houston sent B-Squads to an Open Cup match when they haven't done that a lot in the past, especially DC United who has a few Open Cups in their trophy case.
Daily dose of Becks
And Michael Lewis has an interview with Clive Toye where he pats Pele (and by extension himself) on the back for setting the table for Beckham's Invasion. The funny part for me is how Toye takes exception to people saying that Beckham will save soccer in the US. But didn't I hear everybody and their brother say on Friday that MLS, and essentially soccer in the US, doesn't need saving?
So who really thinks that soccer does need saving? Personally, soccer in this country can be elevated, but it certainly doesn't need saving.
News & Notes
- Juan Pablo Angel had another first this weekend: his first MLS red card. An elbow to NE's Shalrie Joseph sent the Red Bull's savior packing.
- Uncle Phil isn't after a premiership club. And I was hoping that he'd annouce that he was buying Chelsea at half time of Saturday's game.......
- Brazil topped Argentina 3-0 in the final of Copa America. A less than full strength Brazil squad took out Argentina's best and by a wide margin. If you called that one you have to either be a betting genius or a total Brazil homer.
- While I agree that MLS has the chance to have an era of popularity, it's going to be very interesting to see if all the teams and markets can up their games. For every great story (Toronto FC, Juan Pablo Angel, Beckham, Blanco, etc.), there are still things like KC and NY having serious issues at the gate. Fixing those issues and keeping the good times rolling will be a tall order for MLS and everyone involved.
Take a minute to help out a member of the Rhinos family
I got an e-mail today from a member of the Rhinos community asking
people to fill out a survey regarding the logo for the company that
they are starting up.
I was hoping that people could help out by taking a couple of minutes to fill out the survey.
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.