It's a shame that the Carolina RailHawks are unlikely to return to PAETEC Park this season.
There is a remote chance the Rhinos and RailHawks could meet in the US Open Cup Quarter Finals or beyond (the Quarter Final match ups are TBD) and there is the chance that they could meet up in the USL 1st Division playoffs.
Right now, the next time the two teams are scheduled to face each other is Sunday, September 14th at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.
What is for sure is that after Friday night, the RailHawks-Rhinos rivalry is as hot as the day that Frankie SanFilippo signed with the RailHawks.
This time, the spice has been added by a game that saw Frankie get red carded in the 3rd minute, Carolina score three goals while a man down, the Rhinos getting credited with a controversial own goal by Carolina, and then reports that Schweitzer directed a "Brian Cox salute" either towards Rhino fans seated behind the RailHawks bench or towards new Rhinos owner Rob Clark.
Clark has been outspoken both online at Devo's blog and the RhinosZone.com and on Kick This!. Schweitzer was a guest on Saturday's Kick This! as well and denied signalling that anyone was #1.
My personal take on this situation is simple: Embrace the hate! Clark has not been afraid to be outspoken when it comes to issues like his team sticking up for each other and predicting a big win prior to Friday night's game.
So, I would think that he would see that games like Friday night can help build rivalries that will in turn add excitement and most improtantly SELL TICKETS.
Sam was wondering when the next time Carolina was coming to town during the show. I can only imagine the TV and radio commercial ideas he has for the next time the RailHawks do come to town.
If the Rhinos play their cards right, fans will develop a distaste for Carolina that is as strong,or stronger, than the distaste for Montreal.
And as far as Rhinos fans riding Schweitzer during the match, that's a tough one. Schweitzer is in my top 5 as far as my favorite players all time because he was an edgy player that would give everything he had to win and would occasionally cross the line to give his team an advantage.
I gave Scotty the same golf clap that I do all the returning former Rhinos such as Martin Nash and Mauro Biello. But, he is the enemy once things kick off.
Fans are free to do what they please, within reason. I would just hope that fans are as classy themselves as they would expect the players and coaches to be.
If fans don't want to have coaches and players use obscene language, I would expect them not to utter such words towards the players and coaches.
If fans don't want players or coaches using obscene gestures, then I would expect them not to use obscene gestures themselves.
If fans don't want players and coaches to spit on them, then I would expect them not to spit at players and coaches.
But I do hope that both sides can build up a not so friendly rivalry that helps both clubs at the gate!
News & Notes:
- The USMNT advanced past Barbados in World Cup Qualifying with yesterday's 1-0 win in Barbados. SBI.net said that it was an ugly win and I have to agree. Even with Bob Bradley going with a younger lineup, I was still looking for the US to get a four or five to nothing result against a team that had a boatload of amateur players on the roster. Perhaps the team was too relaxed given the view from their hotel.
One interesting thing was the fact that the USL-1 Team Owners Association bought up all the on the field signage at the match. Although, with the game on ESPN Classic and it going up against the Euro 2008 Quarter Final between Spain and Italy, who knows how many fans watched the match.
Next weekend the Rhinos Women head up to Vermont and Western Mass and their next home match is at 2pm on Sunday July 6th when they will host London.
- If you want a shot at winning four free tickets to Sunday's LA-DC United match, head over here.
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.