Saturday, August 18, 2012
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Rochester Rhinos finished their 2012 regular season with a 1-0 win against the Pittsburgh RiverRiverhounds at Sahlen’s Stadium on Saturday night as Andrew Hoxie’s late goal secured all three points for the Rhinos, also guaranteeing his side a home game to open the USL PRO Playoffs.
The Rhinos will find out whether that game will be in next weekend’s quarterfinals, or whether they get a bye to the semifinals on Sunday, with Rochester needing Antigua to take a point against the Richmond Kickers at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium to lock up the No.2 seed. The Kickers beat the Barracudas 1-0 in their first meeting on Friday night. The two teams will split the first tie breaker, head-to-head meetings, and the tie will be broken on goal differential should Richmond take victory. Richmond leads Rochester by one goal in differential heading into Sunday’s game.
In Saturday night’s contest, the Riverhounds got the first scoring chance in the 18th minute when George Kyriazis was ruled to have passed the ball back to goalkeeper Kristian Nicht, giving Pittsburgh an indirect free kick. Michael Green took the free kick from the top of the penalty area, but failed to score as the ball bounced off the Rhinos’ wall.
The Rhinos were then awarded a penalty in the 24th minute when Pittsburgh’s Nikola Katic got called for pulling on the jersey of the Rhinos’ Tyler Rosenlund. Veteran goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap saved the low, hard, penalty shot down the middle by McManus, keeping the game scoreless at the break.
Rhinos coach Jesse Myers subbed in Hoxie and JC Banks in the 56th and 57th minutes, and Banks, the Rhino’s MVP, nearly had a goal in the 69th minute when his shot from 10 yards was deflected behind by Louie Rolko. The Rhinos nearly scored again in the 71st minute when a header from five yards by Chris Estridge was saved by a diving Gilstrap.
The Rhinos opened the scoring in the 86th minute when Hoxie scored his team-high sixth goal on the season, as he picked up a pass by Rosenlund in the penalty area and fired home from a tight angle. Hoxie’s last goal had also come against Pittsburgh on July 21st, and moved him out of a tie for the team lead with Banks.
Rochester was reduced to 10 men in the 90th minute when Michael Tanke was shown a red card after an altercation near the halfway line, but the Rhinos were able to see out the victory, maintaining their undefeated record at Sahlen’s Stadium against the Riverhounds.