04/06/2012 6:04 PM
The Rochester Rhinos defeated the Syracuse University Orange 2:1 in their final match of the preseason at Sahlen’s Stadium on Saturday March 24, 2012.
The Rhinos opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. After an intricate build-up in the attacking half, left back Jack Traynor found himself in space at the top of the box. Traynor whipped an early ball into the box. Traynor’s service found the head of front runner Graciano Brito, but a brilliant reflex save from the Orange keeper Connor Jacobson kept the ball out of the net. Withdrawn forward Tam McManus was the first to the rebound and tapped the ball into the empty net for a 1:0 Rhinos lead.
Syracuse leveled the score in the 47th minute off of a corner kick. Junior Ted Cribley served the ball into the far post. The Rhinos defense was not able to account for Orange center back Skylar Thomas who finished a free header into the upper 90 from five yards out. The goal was the first that Rhinos keeper Kristian Nicht had conceded in four preseason matches.
Rochester responded eight minutes later to reclaim the lead. This time McManus provided the pass that put the Rhinos back in front. After another long build-up from the Rhinos, McManus found time and space thirty yards out. He used the opportunity to play a penetrating pass to Rhinos center midfielder Tyler Rosenlund. In space Rosenlund had the composure to chip Orange goalkeeper Ryan Jones and give Rochester a 2:1 lead.
The Rhinos were able to close up shop and hold onto the 2:1 victory over the Orange. Nicht had three saves in the last 15 minutes to secure the victory. Nicht made his best save of the preseason to date in the 77th minute. Orange front runner Louis Clark was able to get in behind the Rhinos back four, but Nicht made a point blank reflex save to keep the junior from leveling the score.
Nicht was even better ten minutes later. In the 87th minute Clark took a shot from ten yards out that Nicht made another reflex save on. This time the Orange were the first to the rebound. Junior Lars Muller looked like he had a tap-in equalizer until the 6’5” Nicht dove across the goal to save the win for the Rhinos.
Rhinos captain Troy Roberts, introduced at half time for center back Tyler Bellamy, also made a crucial tackle in the closing minutes to keep the Orange from leveling the match.
“At the end of the preseason we are starting to come together as a team.” Rhinos coach Jesse Myers said. “Fourteen or fifteen guys should feel fairly confident that they have plane tickets to LA (for the season opener) in their hands. The biggest challenge for us right now as a team is to get all of our players, with so many different backgrounds, onto the same page. I think we’ve done a good job of that during training camp and the preseason, but we need to continue to grow and develop every day.”
Jesse Myers only made three changes to the starting eleven he used against the Montreal Impact’s U21 team that Rochester drew 1:1 on Wednesday as he seems to be settling in on a starting line-up for the 2012 USL PRO season. McManus returned to the line-up after sitting out with an injury on Wednesday. Mac Hemmi started at right back and Bellamy returned to the starting line-up at center back after sitting out on Wednesday.
The Rochester Rhinos open the 2012 USL PRO season on Saturday, April 14th at10:30PM (EDT) in Los Angeles against the LA Blues. Live coverage of the match will be available through UNATION at usllive.com.
The Rhinos home opener will be on Saturday, May 5th at 7PM in Sahlen’s Stadium against the Charlotte Eagles. Season tickets and flex packages are currently available by calling the Rhinos box office at 585.454.5425.
Rochester Rhinos – 2
Syracuse University – 1
Rochester Rhinos: 24 - Kristian Nicht; 5 - Jack Traynor, 6 – George Kyriazis, 2 - Tyler Bellamy, 17 – Mac Hemmi; 3 - Drew Cost, 8 - Tyler Rosenlund, 10 - Tam McManus, 16 – Danny Earls, 15 - Graciano Brito, 29 – JC Banks
Reserves: 4 - Michael Zaher, 7 – Gustavo Zamudio, 11 – Conor Chinn, 12 – Troy Roberts, 13 – Quavas Kirk, 18 – Isaac Kissi, 21 – Kyle Manscuk, 22 – Kendall McFadden, 23 – Andrew Hoxie, 25 – Brandon Miller, 27 – Michael Tanke, 31 – Joe Marino
Scoring: ROC: McManus 23rd minute
SYR: Thomas (Cribley) 47th minute
ROC: Rosenlund (McManus) 55th minute
Substitutions: Roberts -> Bellamy (45th minute)
Hoxie -> Brito (60th minute)
Chinn -> Banks (60th minute)
Zamudio -> Rosenlund (63rd minute)
Zaher -> Cost (64th minute)
Manscuk -> Kyriazis (68th minute)
Kissi -> McManus (70th minute)