TAMPA, FL – The Rochester Rhinos dropped their opening match of the 2013 season 3:0 to first year USL PRO club VSI Tampa Bay on Saturday, April 13th, 2013 at Plant City Stadium.
Rookie striker Karamba Janneh opened the scoring in first half stoppage time for VSI Tampa Bay FC to give them the 1:0 lead at halftime. Fellow rookie Douglas Dos Santos doubled the lead for VSI in the 49th minute, and forward Andriy Budnny made it 3:0 in the 74th minute. Alexander Horwath earned the clean sheet in goal for VSI Tampa Bay FC.
Rochester Rhinos head coach Jesse Myers inserted six newcomers into the line-up for the opening match of 2013. New England Revolution left back Tyler Polak and right back Bilal Duckett joined captain Troy Roberts and second year center back Georgios Kyriazis in the back four, while rookie Lance Rozeboom joined Rhinos 2011 MVP Tyler Rosenlund in central midfield. First year Rhinos forward Blake Brettschneider joined New England Revolution left winger Gabe Latigue and fourth year Rhinos right winger Danny Earls in the attacking midfield, and former Orlando City star striker Matt Luzunaris started up top for the Rhinos. 2012 USL PRO Goalkeeper of the Year Kristian Nicht started in goal for Rochester.
VSI Tampa Bay Head Coach Matt Weston didn't make any changes to the line-up that lost 2:1 in Portland to the Portland Timbers Reserves (MLS) last Sunday. The first year club started six players who played in USL PRO or the NASL last season. Horwath (Wilmington) was in goal with 2012 All-USL PRO First Team defender Josh Rife and former Charleston Battery center back Kyle Hoffer starting in defense. Former City Islanders midfielder J.T. Noone joined former Rhinos midfilder Tony Donatelli, and former Minnesota Stars (NASL) midfielder Shawn Chin in the center of the park.
Both sides were able to create chances in the opening half, but it wasn’t until the final minute that VSI was able to take the lead as Janneh found space to finish. Shortly after the break, Tampa Bay doubled its advantage as Dos Santos matched his former Ocala Stampede teammate seven minutes into the second half.
Rochester had been one of the best defenses in USL PRO a season ago as it finished second in the regular-season standings, but it was breached again with just over 15 minutes to go. Former Wilmington Hammerheads standout Andriy Budnyy produced the finish, capping the victory for Tampa Bay, it’s second of the season.
“It's a funny game some times.” Myers said. “We gave up a goal at the end of the first half and one right at the start of the second half that changed the game for us. VSI Tampa Bay FC is an expansion team in name only, and they've assembled a quality club down here. Our result tonight and Orlando's loss in LA goes to show you that there are no easy games in this league anymore.”
The Rochester Rhinos next match is Sunday, April 14th, 2013 at 6PM in Florida's Citrus Bowl against the 2012 USL PRO Regular Season Champion Orlando City Lions. The match can be seen live in its entirety via streaming video at www.uslnation.com. The Rhinos home opener is on Saturday, May 4th at 7PM against Harrisburg City in Sahlen's Stadium. Season tickets, flex packages and group ticket sales are currently available, and individual game tickets are now also on sale. They can be purchased by calling (585)454-KICK (5425), by visiting the MVP Health Care Box Office at Sahlen's Stadium, or by visiting ticketmaster.com.
About the Rochester Rhinos
The Rochester Rhinos, the most successful soccer club in the United States and Canada outside of Major League Soccer, were founded in 1996 and currently play in the USL PRO Division – the top tier of the United Soccer Leagues. The Rhinos have appeared in eight finals and won four championships including the 1999 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and three A-League Championships (1998, 2000, 2001). In 2013 the the New England Revolution became the official MLS affiliate of the Rochester Rhinos.
All home matches are played in western New York's premier outdoor sport's facility, Sahlen's Stadium, located in downtown Rochester. For group and season tickets visit our website www.rhinossoccer.com or call the MVP Health Care Box Office in Sahlen's Stadium at (585)454-KICK. Don't forget to follow the club on Twitter (@rochesterrhinos) and on Facebook (RochesterRhinos) to stay up to date on all the latest news.