Macoumba Kandji was more than a handful for the Rhinos defense last night.
Not only did he score two goals (one on a PK), but he drew another PK that former Rhino David Hayes converted for the game winner, but he also had a few other quality chances that he didn't convert.
So while many will bemoan the utter lack of quality officiating that was on display last evening, ultimately, that was not was doomed the Rhinos.
A defense that was at less than 100% thanks to Scott Palguta's yellow card accumulation suspension, T-Bone Bonseu being sick most of the week, and Ross Smith playing on a foot that was obviously not 100%. Add in Alfonso Loera playing like a shadow of the 2007 edition of the Rhinos' #23 and that was a recipe for disaster.
Now the Rhinos have to shift their focus to the Puerto Rico Islanders. The Rhinos have a huge home and home series starting Friday night in Puerto Rico before the teams travel north to play at PAETEC Park on Sunday evening.
With the Islanders 2 spots and 5 points ahead of the Rhinos in the USL 1st Division standings , this is going to be another major test for this club as it works to solidify it's hold on a playoff spot.
News & Notes:
- Darren Tilley has been saying that he would wait until the 20 game mark to judge where his team is at. Well, last evening was the 20th game of the 2008 season and right now the Rhinos sit in 5th place and are 6 points out of first and 5 points ahead of 8th place Miami FC.
- I know Sam said he's going to put a poster up of Kandji in his office and point to it every time Matt Ford or Rob Clark walk in between now and the August 27th roster freeze date, but I can't see Atlanta shipping off their team's leading scorer.
Looking at the Atlanta roster, I would wonder if Jerson Monteiro or Ansu Toure would become available? And looking at the Minnesota roster, I would wonder if Melvin Tarley or Ricardo Sanchez could be had in a trade?
- I guess Kenny Cooper wasn't too upset about not getting sold by FC Dallas.
- I love Steven Goff's poll after the LA Galaxy lost to the San Jose Earthquakes yesterday. Jonah Freedman at SI.com has an interesting article on how the Galazy have been warned that heads will roll if things don't improve in the next two weeks and SBI.net has not one, but two posts on the topic.
I'd love to see former Chicago Fire GM Peter Wilt get a shot in LA. But, I doubt that the Galaxy would go with such an un-sexy pick as that.
- Lionel Messi is getting a new number with Barcelona: the #10 that is available with Ronaldinho moving on.
It will be interesting to see if Connally can bag a goal on August 15th when Miami FC travels to Cary to take on the RailHawks. I know a lot of people around here will be interested to see what kind of goal celebration he breaks out in that situation!
- After reading this piece about the latest hiccup in the construction of Red Bull Park, I'm ever more thankful that PAETEC Park is open for business.
- Steven Goff says that just because Pat Noonan is signing, that doesn't mean that he's coming back to the Revs.
- The Houston and New England players are splitting the pot for tomorrow's SuperLiga final? (per Steven Goff) That's weak!
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.