05/24/2012 1:46 PM
The Rochester Rhinos travel to Harrisburg on Friday, May 25th for their first match of the season against the City Islanders at 6PM before traveling to Dayton to face the Dutch Lions for the third time in nine matches on Saturday, May 26th at 7:30PM. The back-to-back weekend comes in the middle of a stretch of six matches in 15 days. After the Rhinos match in Dayton they will be traveling back to Rochester before leaving for the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in Philadelphia against the Union (MLS) on Tuesday, May 29th.
Rhinos second-year winger JC Banks has been the team’s leading scorer for the first two months of the 2012 season. Banks has ten points in all competitions, and he is tied for the USL PRO lead in points with two goals and four assists in his first seven league matches. Banks has recorded a goal or an assist in six of the Rhinos seven USL PRO matches this season, and has at least one point in his last three matches. He has appeared on the score sheet 13 times in his career and the Rochester Rhinos are 12-0-1 when he does.
While Banks scored the third goal in the Rhinos 3:0 victory over the Brooklyn Italians in the Second Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, two new Rhinos opened their scoring accounts for the club on Tuesday, May 22nd. Forward Tom McManus scored the first goal of the match and forward Conor Chinn scored the second goal. Both strikes came off of Danny Earls’ corner kicks and Troy Roberts assists.
“There’s no doubt that both of those guys have the talent and pedigree to be regular goal scorers in this league.” Rhinos head coach Jesse Myers said. “The story has been talking about how well we have gelled so quickly defensively. I think the streak kind of took some attention off of how difficult it can be to learn to gel offensively. We scored some goals on Tuesday, and hopefully that will carry over to the weekend.”
The Rhinos match with the City Islanders on Friday night will be their first meeting of the season. Harrisburg enters the match in fifth place in the table with nine points from six matches (2-1-3). City Islanders Coach Billy Becher’s attack has the league’s third best scoring record with nine goals. New signee Yann Ekra has scored four goals while returning players Sainey Touray (three assists), Jason Pelletier (two assists), and Joseph Noone (two goals, one assist) have been key contributors in the attack. The City Islanders also have the fourth best goals conceded record (five) in the league.
On Saturday night the Rhinos will play the Dutch Lions for the third time in four weeks. Rochester defeated the Dutch Lions 1:0 in Dayton on April 28th behind a goal from Banks and a clean sheet from Rhinos keeper Kristian Nicht. On May 18th the Dutch Lions left the Rhinos red faced after they played to a 1:1 draw. Gibson Bardsley ended Rochester’s streak of 568 consecutive scoreless minutes with a goal in the 28th minute before overlapping right back Quavas Kirk rescued a point for the Rhinos with an equalizer in the 76th minute. The Dutch Lions remain on the bottom of the USL PRO table with only three points from seven matches.
“Any time you’re playing six matches in 15 days, four matches in a week, and three of those four matches end up away from home, it is going to be a rough stretch.” Myers said. “We have developed a plan for how we’re going to address this stretch, but as with any plan it’s dependent on injuries and player availability.”
The matches against the City Islanders and the Dutch Lions will both be available live on UNATION at www.uslnation.com.
The Rochester Rhinos continue their 2012 U.S. Open Cup campaign with a trip to PPL Stadium to play the Philadelphia Union (MLS) on Tuesday, May 29th at 7:30PM.
The Rhinos return to Sahlen’s Stadium to play the Richmond Kickers on Saturday, June 2nd at 7PM. Tickets for the match with Richmond are on sale now by calling 585.454.KICK, by visiting rhinossoccer.com, or by visiting any of Ticket Master’s retail locations.