June 30, 2008
So, the Rhinos laid an egg in Charleston and lost 3 to 1 to the Battery on Saturday night.
Then they got to watch tomorrow's US Open Cup opponent, DC United, completely destroy the LA Galaxy 4-1 on Sunday afternoon.
With it appearing that the Rhinos biggest hope for tomorrow is that DC will be looking ahead to their trio of SuperLiga matches that start a week from Saturday, is it time to push the panic button?
With Rhinos owner Rob Clark calling Saturday's post game show and saying that there will be meetings this week, it would appear that he may already be hitting his personal panic button.
The big question now is whether it is realistic to fix the issues with the Rhinos that has them in the basement of the USL 1 Division after 12 games played. At the beginning of the season, I was worried about whether this team had enough grit and toughness to survive. I also wondered if this team had the right mix in the central part of midfield.
Head Coach Darren Tilley talked about how Ross Smith will belooked upon to bring more leadership to the central part of defense. So, it's obvious that he sees an issue there.
With guaranteed contracts in the USL, the question now is how much can the Rhinos do to solve the issues that they currently have?
With Hamed Diallo once again not making Tilley's 18 man roster, he would appear to be a guy that the Rhinos could shop. But, could they land a difference maker for him? Most teams would likely be willing to part with a player that has fallen out of favor with their club, so I wouldn't get my hopes up.
I know some people don't want to hear it, but this year should be looked at as a rebuidling year. Get to the end of the season and then re-evaluate everything from top to bottom and see what worked and what needs to be improved upon.
My key questions would be:
- What are the 4 or 5 most important positions on the field? Do we have difference makers in 3 or 4 of those spots?
- Do we have enough quality depth?
- Do we have the right mix of talent and grit?
- Do we have players that will make a lasting connection with our fans?
One thing should warm the hearts of Rhinos fans: if the season were to end today, Montreal would be missing the playoffs along with the Rhinos.....................
News & Notes:
- Saturday night's game versus Vancouver should be interesting with Alfonoso Loera and John Ball being out with red card suspensions.
- I like the new splash screen at Rhinos Soccer.com.
- The Rhinos Women had a nice 3-0 win on Saturday versus Vermont and Brittany Kinmond had a hat trick.
- I don't want to talk about Spain's 1-0 win over Germany yesterday......
- It was nice to see Ben Olsen get his first minutes for DC United. Even if he has to go under the knife yet again on his injured ankle, it meant a ton to United to get their heart and soul on the fiel, even if it was only for a few mintues.
- Steven Goff has his The Good, The Bad, and The Coyote Ugly up.
- Nobody should be stunned to hear that Blanco may have thrown down with a teammate. But, with Wilman Conde's little dance early in the year with wanting to go to NY to play for Osario, my guess is that Blanco may end up being viewed as the good guy!
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.