The Rhinos took care of business last evening versus the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in a 3-0 win in the second round of the US Open Cup tournament.
The Rhinos advance to face DC United next Tuesday in a match that will be played at the Maryland SoccerPlex. The Rhinos are setting up a bus trip down to the match,so call 454-KICK today if you are interested in cheering the team on as they try and advance to the Quarter Finals.
The Rhinos didn't come out at the start of the match with the time of fire in their eyes that I expected after what happened both in their first round game versus RWB Adria, but also with the way that Friday night's game versus Carolina went. Pittsburgh had way too much of the ball to start the game for my liking and Scott Vallow was urging Tiger Fitzpatrick and the rest of the midfield to pick up the pace.
Thankfully, Johnny Menyongar was on his game last night. The Riverhounds defense was given fits in the first half with Menyongar's speed and they were lucky that Johnny only scored his one goal. Menyongar should have converted a chance where he found himself 1v1 with the Pittsburgh keeper and he was judged to be off side on another play where he did put the ball in the back of the net.
Nate Craft coming off again with what appeared to be a recurring right calf injury acting up again wasn't what Coach Tilley had in mind. But, Danny Earls played well when he was moved back to the left back spot with Steve Guppy replacing Craft and being inserted into the left outside midfield position.
All in all, it wasn't a great first half, but the Rhinos did enter the locker room with a 1-0 lead.
Then the Rhinos got some home cookin'. And I'm not talking about Famous Dave's BBQ.
Mauricio Salles looked to be a good yard offside when Steve Guppy took his shot that eventually made it's way to Salles' feet. It was a nice left footed finish by Salles to make the game 2-0. But, I had to agree with the less than thrilled Riverhounds that were all over the officials after they let the goal stand.
Then there was the debate on whether the Pittsburgh defender intended to play the ball back to the goalkeeper when he picked it up with his hands and the Rhinos were given an indirect free kick from the top of the Pittsburgh six yard box. Luke Kreamalmayer did a nice job of roofing his shot after the restart, though!
The biggest downer of the night came when Steve Guppy got a straight red card in teh 70th minute for a poorly thought out challenge from behind in the 70th minute. That brain lock will cause Guppy to miss the third round match up versus his former club.
But all in all, it was a good night as the club advanced and there weren'tany overly huge issues coming out of the match.
News & Notes:
- Devo mentions in his blog that the Rhinos have cut their ties with defender Atiba Charles. Although, someone needs to send their new webmaster an email and Slick needs to get a new jersey.
- DC United's blog and Steven Goff's blog are all over the Rhinos advancing. I think Rhinso fans should act like they are DC fans and say that United should play their reserve side on Tuesday since they host LA on Sunday afternoon (live on ABC for those that care) and then have Super Liga games on the 12th, 15th, and 19th of the month.
- Dan Steinberg's DC Sports Bog has some interesting DC United content of late including DCU's support from the Dark Cyde, some fan banners, what happens in DC's locker room after a win, and the media approval rating poll of DC United Play by Play man Dave Johnson. Dave Johnson is scheduled to appear on Saturday's edition of Kick This! to talk about Tuesday's US Open Cup match.
- Speaking of dark stuff, Ridge Mahoney is the latest media member to talk to DC's Santino Quaranta about his recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.
- It's official - Carlos Bocanegra signed a 3 year deal with Rennes per Yanks Abroad.
- SBI.net ponders who will be named to the US Men's Olympic Soccer team by Peter Nowak. I would hope that the US would have some higher impact overagers on the squad.
- Grant Wahl at SI.com is calling for a 2-0 win for Germany in their Euro 2008 Semfinal match versus Turkey today. I don't want to jinx it, but I'm hoping it's not that close.....
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.