April 28, 2006
Sunday afternoon, Miami FC opened their inaugural USL 1st Division season versus the Montreal Impact. It was also to be the day that Brazilian legend Romario made his US pro debut. But, visa issues kept Romario from playing in the scoreless draw between Montreal and Miami.
Alas, if Rhino fans were hoping that the visa issues would keep Romario out of next week's Rhinos season opener in Miami, that may not happen. Yesterday it was announced that Romario's work visa had come through and he was expected in Miami on Tuesday. The question now is whether that is enough time for Romario to be ready to start or be available as one of the first subs off the Miami bench. My guess is that Romario would be in the starting lineup. But, we shall see.
Romario's teammate on the 1994 World Cup championship team, Zinho, did make his Miami FC debut versus Montreal and he was named to the USL 1st Division Team of the Week for Week One.
Some other news and notes from around the USL 1st Division:
- Ex-Rhino defender Craig Demmin was not on the Virginia Beach gameday roster for their first regular match versus Toronto. There was no mention of why Craig missed the match either in The Virginian-Pilot's match write up, nor on the Mariner's website. Hopefully it was just a precaution due to the rainy conditions and the fact that Craig is coming back from a serious knee injury.
- Two ex-Rhinos were named to the USL 1st Division Team of the Week. Montreal defender Gabriel Gervais and USL 1st Division Player of the Week Greg Simmonds, who scored both Virginia Beach goals in their 2-0 win over Toronto, were both honored this past week.
- Puerto Rico was able to get 4 points in two home matches versus the Atlanta Silverbacks. Liam George's 89th minute goal in the second match salvaged the lone point on the road trip for the Silverbacks.
- Home teams were a combined 4-0-2 in the USL 1st Division's opening week.
Out of sight, out of mind
Due to the fact that I didn't make the trip down to Cortland to see the preseason game between the Rhinos and SUNY Binghamton, I'm going to act like the Rhinos didn't lose 1-0. Although, it is never good to have a poor showing such as that so late in the preseason.
But, despite hopes that it wouldn't happen again, it does appear that there will be another early season feeling out process for the coaching staff as they try and deal with the losses of Rene Rivas and Scott Schweitzer and mix in players like Ricky Lewis, Greg Howes, and Jonny Steele who will be joining the team late in the preseason.
It will certainly be interesting to see who plays where when the Rhinos take on Syracuse University this afternoon in their final preseason match prior to next Friday's opener in Miami.
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.