ROCHESTER, NY - The Rhinos defeated FC Cincinnati 1-0 on a gorgeous sunny day at Capelli Sport Stadium. Bradley Kamdem Fewo scored his first career goal in the 65th minute to give the Rhinos 3 points, a 4-1-3 record, and propel them to 4th place. FC Cincinnati fell to 4-5-3 and dropped down to 7th.
Both teams were coming off US Open Cup Third Round victories Wednesday. The Rhinos defeated GPS Omens 2-1 on a 122nd-minute goal, while Cincinnati defeated Louisville City FC 1-0.
Cincinnati introduced a starting XI that featured 8 changes to the lineup from their previous USL fixture in which they beat Toronto FC II 1-0. Their biggest change would arguably be at goalkeeper, as Guam-international Dallas Jaye made his first career USL start in place of regular starter Mitch Hildebrandt.
Jaye made a couple early blunders as a seemingly tame ball bounced between his gloves and found the feet of Rayane Boukemia who fed it across to Jochen Graf who slammed it into the empty net. However, the Assistant Referee raised his flag late, judging Boukemia to be offside. Less than ten minutes later, Jaye came out of his box to pursue a ball and was beaten by Boukemia, but nothing came of the chance.
Unfortunately for the Rhinos, Boukemia suffered an injury and was forced out of the match in the 22nd minute. Bradley Kamdem Fewo would replace him at the left midfield position.
Wal Fall nearly put the Rhinos up in the 36th minute when he settled a high ball at the top of the box, turned his defender and let a shot go over the bar.
Four minutes later, Brandon Beresford would have an even better chance. Fall chested a ball down and Beresford let one go from about 25 yards that went about a foot left of the post.
Right before the half the Rhinos earned their first corner of the game. Joe Farrell would get an open header that he put just wide of the net. The first half ended without a shot on goal.
Rochester started the second half aggressively and it nearly worked immediately. 2 minutes in, Jordan Dover and Stefan Defregger played a nice 1-2 on the right wing and found Kenardo Forbes at the top of the box. Forbes shot would deflect right to Graf who stuck the outside of his boot out and nearly scored a freak goal, hitting the post and rolling away from the target.
Cincy had their first real chance of the match come in the 53rd minute as captain Kenney Walker found himself open from about 27 yards, but put the ball right into the chest of Rhinos goalkeeper Tomas Gomez.
A minute later, Graf nearly scored once again missing the target from just a few yards. Forbes completely shook his defender with a well-timed body feint and sent a cross far post for Graf who slid in on the volley, sending the ball over the net.
In the 58th minute, some great work by Defregger on the right side nearly led to a goal by Kamdem Fewo. Defregger’s ball rolled across the entire box right into Kamdem Fewo’s path, but the Cincinnati defender arrived just in time to block the shot.
Rochester finally had all their hard work pay off in the 65th minute when Kamdem Fewo scored a spectacular goal, curling the ball into the bottom right corner to give the Rhinos a 1-0 lead. Joe Farrell started the play from the back, sending the ball to Beresford who flicked it on to Graf. Graf did extremely well to dive in and get the ball out to Forbes. Forbes played the ball outside to Kamdem Fewo who did the rest. He went at his defender, cut inside, took another touch and tucked his curled effort just inside the right post for his first professional goal.
“It feels nice to get my first goal. It’s great for me, the team and for my family. Kenardo made a great overlapping run to drag both defenders to the left. It allowed me to go to the middle of the field and I went far post.”
Coach Bob Lilley switched the formation from a 4-2-3-1 to a 5-4-1 with two substitutions in the 75th minute, with Forbes swapping with Michael Garzi and taking the captain’s armband, and Todd Pratzer becoming the 5th defender replacing winger Stefan Defregger.
With Rochester playing ultra defensive for the final 15 minutes of the game, Cincinnati would launch one final attack. Paul Nicholson swung a ball into Andrew Wiedeman who hit the ball over the bar. Five more minutes would pass and the Rhinos would claim their fourth victory of the season, taking their point total to 15. Tomas Gomez would earn his fourth clean sheet.
“The only way they could get through us at that point (switching the formation) was to play the long ball,” Gomez said, “For me, I’m very comfortable coming out to claim the ball. Every time I do, it gives them a little less hope of coming away with a result.”
The Rhinos head to Florida for two games this coming week against Orlando City B and the Tampa Bay Rowdies before coming back to play the New England Revolution of the MLS in Rhode Island.