The Rhinos may have the perfect MLS USOC opponent tonight in the Philadelphia Union. Sure, the Rhinos are 0-1-2 in their last three USL PRO League games and 1-1-2 in all competitions since their season opening 6-0-0 run came to an end.
Sure, the Rhinos are struggling to score goals with multiple goals only twice in seven league games and three times overall so far this season.
But, the Union are only 2-7-2 this season with 8 goals for and 14 goals against. Philadelphia is also 0-4-1 in their last five matches and 1-3-1 at home in 2012. The smart money might be on this game being scoreless through 120 minutes of play and being decided on PKs.
Although, whenever that is the thought process going into a match, it seems that a lot of times there is an early goal and the game opens up from there.
If the Rhinos do advance tonight, they will travel to face the winner of the Richmond Kickers (USL) versus DC United (MLS) match next Tuesday night.
Here is the entire 2012 US Open Cup Bracket.
All sorts of news and notes since I've been off for Memorial Day:
- SBI.net looks at how Jonny Steele has been coming up big in the clutch for RSL.
- Former Rhinos GK Chase Harrison has seen his first MLS action with Philadelphia.
- The WNY Flash have added defender Toni Pressley.
- Heather Mitts will hang up her boots after the London Olympics.
- US Soccer.com has field level and regular highlights of the USMNT's 5-1 win over Scotland from Saturday night. Loved the game, hated the numbers on the new Where's Waldo jerseys. Steve Davis has a few reasons why the win mattered.
- Steven Goff has a great piece in the Washington Post on Clint Dempsey.
- du Nord has a review of BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
- NY Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe doesn't like USOC matches during FIFA match dates. He makes a great point, even if it helps the lower division clubs.
- MLS Talk looks at the controversy of a few of the USOC venues being changed prior to this round. InsideMNSoccer.com talked to Minnesota Stars CEO Djorn Buchholz about their decision to sell the hosting rights to RSL.
- Here is a rumor round up for USMNTers. It's no surprise that Clint Dempsey is the first player mentioned.
- If you ever wondered how Nike turns plastic bottles into soccer jerseys, here you go.
- The 2014 is two years away and the venues are only 5% complete? Ummmmm, OK.
- If you're a soccer player who's dealt with hamstring injuries, you might want to read this.
- The hair of Stu Holden and Megan Rapinoe have been seen in the same room at the same time!
- The Montreal Impact have signed their first DP in striker Marco Di Vaio who joins MLS from Bologna in Italy. We hate him, too.
- USWNTer Ali Krieger is on the road to recovery.
WPS Folds, so what comes next?
There are lots of questions about what the future of professional women's soccer in the US will be with WPS officially folding earlier this month.
Some wonder if the USSF should do more. Others wonder if it's time that MLS steps in to help things.
The #1 item on any agenda has to be to reduce the operating costs of a league so that the financial game plan has a shot at lasting longer than 2 or 3 seasons. One huge expense that needs to be controlled is travel. One idea I had would be having an Eastern Conference (WNY, Boston, Washington, and NJ) and a Western Conference (Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Jose or LA) and having the teams not play the other conference during the regular season and just have to the two conference champions play in the finals. A more radical idea would be to have the entire league play in one location like at the Home Depot Center in LA or the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. That model could work better if the entire league were about developing players for the USWNT.
But, at the end of the day there will need to be a model that makes financial sense as women's pro soccer is unlikely to have enough deep pocketed owners to keep the league afloat for a decade plus.
And I won't go so far as to say that MLS SHOULD help create a league ala the NBA underwriting the WNBA and covering that league's losses.
I hope that there is a women's pro league of note in the future. I just don't know if there are enough people willing to lose money to make it happen right now.
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.