Rochester Rhinos News Release -- www.rhinossoccer.com
Friday, August 10, 2012
ROCHESTER, NY -- The second-placed Rochester Rhinos host the third-placed Charleston Battery at Sahlen’s Stadium on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. The Rhinos lead Charleston by four points in the table with two matches left to play in the USL PRO regular season. If the Rhinos earn a point over Charleston on Saturday night, it would make it impossible for the Battery to catch Rochester. However, it would not assure Rochester of the number two seed in the playoffs as even seventh place Charlotte could still catch them before the end of season. In fact, Rochester has still not mathematically qualified for the playoffs with nine days left in the 2012 regular season.
“This season we have seen a lot of parity outside of what Orlando has been able to accomplish, and I think we’re seeing that play out in the playoff race.” Rhinos head coach Jesse Myers said. “Eight teams still have a chance to qualify with nine days left in the season. Our focus is on completing our regular season goal – to be healthy and playing well at the end of the season. We took a step forward with an improved performance over Orlando, and now we need to take another one against Charleston on Saturday.”
While Rochester does not have any injury issues heading into Saturday night’s match against Charleston, they will be dealing with three suspensions related to disciplinary issues. Star winger JC Banks will miss the match after being sent off in last Saturday night’s 1-0 loss to Orlando City. 2011 Rhinos MVP Tyler Rosenlund and forward Tam McManus will miss the match due to accumulated cautions. Banks will probably be replaced by winger Quavas Kirk, while McManus will be more than likely be replaced by super-sub Andrew Hoxie. The center midfield role will fall to either Drew Cost or Michael Tanke.
“We’re missing three guys who have started a lot of matches and played a lot of minutes for us this season.” Myers said. “We’re going to be replacing them with three guys who have contributed as starters and as substitutes at different points in the season. One of the main reasons we’ve made it to this point in the season is because of our depth, and we’re going to be turning to guys we trust in a key match for us this weekend.”
The Rochester Rhinos have started to resemble the defensive form that they had at the beginning of the season. They started the season with a 6-0-1 record, eight goals scored, and one goal conceded. After a 1-4-3 dip in form in the middle of the season, they have rebounded with a 4-2-1 record since the beginning of July. In those seven matches they have conceded six goals and kept five clean sheets. Both of their losses were at the hands of 2012 USL PRO Champions Orlando City. In their other five matches they are 4-0-1 with one goal conceded and five shutouts.
“Our defensive shape was very good at the beginning of the season.” said Myers. “During the middle of the season I think we learned that we need to do a better job of keeping the ball to be successful in this league. As a result of keeping more possession we are creating more chances and scoring more goals, but we are also giving our opponents even fewer chances to score.”
The Charleston Battery enter the match stuck on 34 points after an 0-4-1 run of form in their last five matches. They have scored four goals and conceded 13 goals during their recent run of form. While the Battery have struggled recently, they still have the second best scoring record in the league with 32 goals. Midfielders Nicki Patterson, who has 10 goals and two assists, and Jose Cuevas, who has seven goals and three assists, rank in the top ten in USL PRO scoring. Dane Kelly has also contributed well, recording four goals and two assists.
The rest of the USL PRO playoff picture may start to come into focus after five matches this weekend. Fourth-placed Wilmington is level on points with third place Charleston, but they are idle this weekend. They will play their last two remaining matches in a home-and-home series with Charlotte next weekend. The fifth-placed City Islanders and sixth-placed Richmond Kickers meet at City Stadium on Saturday night, while seventh-placed Charlotte travels to face both the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Friday night and the Dayton Dutch Lions on Saturday.
Gates open at Sahlen’s Stadium at 6 p.m. on Saturday night. The first 1,000 fans will receive a complementary Pat Onstad bobble head courtesy of Wendy’s Restaurants. Saturday night is Team Awards night as the Rhinos will recognize the best players on their roster from the 2012 season.
Tickets are still available for Saturday night’s match by calling 585-454-KICK, by visiting rhinossoccer.com, or by visiting any Ticketmaster Retail Locations.