September 11, 2006
The Rhinos now have their list of potential opponents in the semifinals narrowed down to two teams: Charleston and Puerto Rico
After the Rhinos went down to Charleston and played the Battery to a scoreless draw, they then had to wait and see how the other matches on the evening played out to see who would potentially be heading to Rochester.
With Miami and Puerto Rico playing to a 1-1 tie, that meant that the final standings looked like this:
1) Montreal - 51 pts
2) Rochester - 50 pts
3) Charleston - 46 pts (Charleston won the tiebreaker over Vancouver)
4) Vancouver - 46 pts
5) Miami FC - 39 pts
6) Puerto Rico - 38 pts
So, Montreal will get the winner of the Vancouver-Miami match up and the Rhinos will face the winner of the Charleston-Puerto Rico series.
Personally, I'll be rooting hard for Vancouver to take out Miami FC. I want Montreal to have to go on that west coast road trip. I'll also be rooting for the Islanders as I want no part of the Battery.
The defending champs from Seattle missed the playoffs by 1 point. And the Atlanta Silverbacks were done in because they were only able to secure 3 points in their season ending three game western road trip through Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver.
The US Women's National Team has landed
While the Rhinos were playing in Charleston last evening, I headed out to the airport for an impromptu media session with the US Women's National Team when their flight arrived into town. The bulk of the team was there. The only players that weren't were Abby Wambach, who flew in on Saturday, and the players that are still with their college teams and will be flying into town later, such as Heather O'Reilly.
The big topics of conversation with the players were two things: the weather and how ticket sales were going.
The few players that I talked to were a little shocked by the cool temperatures in Rochester last evening. Heather Mitts commented about how it wasn't that cold in Philadelphia a few weeks ago. But, I guess that's Rochester in September for you.
And I have to give it up to Kristine Lilly for being ever the optimist. I talked to her about how ticket sales were going and it obviously showed that I wasn't thrilled at the fact that only 5000 to 6000 tickets have sold to this point. When I said that I would only be happy with a sellout and that being the highest attendance for any of their home matches this year wouldn't be good enough for me, she said that they do have a few more days to sell tickets.
I loved the thought, but I don't see that happening for a variety of reasons. And it's a shame because this team deserves better than that.
I don't mean to get off on a rant here
I know Abby wasn't with the team. I know that the Bills played their first game of the season yesterday. I know that the Rhinos were playing Charleston when the flight landed. But, I was still disappointed to see that the only media that turned out at the airport was me and a crew from RNews. Heck, I was the only "sports" guy there. The reporter for RNews admitted that he wasn't even from the sports department.
Maybe it's just me, but I think that the US Women's National Team deserves more respect than that. They are great athletes and great people. All the players that we've had on Kick This! leading up to Wednesday night's game were very gracious about coming on even though most of the interviews were early on Saturday morning for them out in LA.
I know that there are a ton of reasons why ticket sales aren't what they were for the Fan Celebration Tour game in 2004. I know the pricing, and more importantly the day and time, are major issues. The one thing that I can't stand is the fact that people are using the neighborhood that PAETEC Park is in as an excuse to not come out and support our Women's National Team.
Abby Wambach and her family came out on Saturday night and everything was fine. They even had a the next star of women's soccer with them who was just learning to take her first steps. I've taken my four year old and two year old sons to games all season without a single issue. So, I just don't get the paranoia about the location of the stadium as an excuse to not support the Rhinos or the US Women's National team.
At a minimum, I hope that Rochester does get the largest crowd in that they have played in front of at home this year. If we can't even do that, then the term "Soccertown USA" should be retired for a while.
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