Whether it was misjudging a wind aided punt by Thunder goalkeeper Nick Platter, failing to convert a penalty kick just a few minutes after Alen Marcina gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead, or failing to convert on a handful of quality chances the rest of the way, the Rhinos were unlucky not to get a result in their second game of the season.
I wonder how many people really thought it was possible for this team, arguably the most talent the Rhinos have put together in the past 4 or 5 years, to open the season on the wrong end of back to back shutouts?
Sure, the Rhinos were playing teams that had meaningful USL 1st Division matches already under their belt. This team was still getting to know each other. This is a rookie coaching staff.
But, shouldn't talent mean that the chances that they were creating should be finished once in a while?
I mean, Hamed Diallo should be expected to finish the penalty that was awarded after Nick Platter took him down in the box. Johnny Menyongar, Matthew Delicate, Mauricio Salles, and Diallo have all gotten some pretty good looks during the run of play. And this team was supposed to be a lot better on corners and free kicks in 2008.
That hasn't happened through two games and the Rhinos are now looking at the three games in seven days as they run the Pacific Northwest gauntlet of Portland, Vancouver, and Seattle. The first match of that road swing will likely be the toughest as the Timbers are 3-0 so far this season with all three matches at home. Vancouver is 1-1 at home with the loss coming against the Minnesota Thunder and Seattle kicks off it's home schedule on Saturday when they host Portland.
Perhaps the Rhinos need to follow Pedro Cerrano's advice and sacrifice a live chicken if their goalless drought continues.........
Or, they could try and steal a play from the Carolina RailHawks playbook !
News & Notes:
- If you missed the wild 5-4 USWNT win over Australia on Saturday evening, then shame on you. Abby scored twice (the 94th and 95th goals of her USWNT career) and assisted on the game winner in stoppage time as she flicked on a ball that Angela Hucles one timed into the back of the Aussie net.
The US takes on Canada on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC as they continue to prepare for the Olympics in Beijing.
- Adam Spangler from This Is American Soccer.com was in the crowd as Fulham defeated Birmingham City 2-0 to move just outside the drop zone. Brian McBride scored the game winner and Kasey Keller got the clean sheet in goal. Clint Dempsey went 90 minutes after signing an extension with the Cottagers. Fulham still needs to match Readings result next Saturday which will be a sizable task as Reading plays at last place Derby County and Fulham visits 8th place Portsmouth.
- The NY Times.com has some more on the Ronaldo saga. Ronaldo looks fat!
- The D&C had a very nice article on the Frontier Field financing debacle yesterday.
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.