Rhinos win clinches playoff spot
PITTSBURGH, PA - The Rochester Rhinos (12-7-11; 47 points) clinched their 21st playoff spot in 22 years on Saturday night, defeating the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-0 at Highmark Stadium.
Jochen Graf got the Rhinos off to a flying start, scoring just 22 seconds into the match. Christiano Francois received the ball on the right wing and swung in a cross that Jochen Graf was able to swing his left foot, sending the ball into the far corner for his 8th goal of the season. The electric Francois tallied his 5th assist of the season to take over the team lead in that category, despite just featuring in 11 matches this season.
The Haitian winger missed nearly 4 months after having to undergo eye surgery.
Midfielder Wal Fall would double the Rhinos advantage in the 14th minute, stunning the Pittsburgh crowd. Wingback Bradley Kamdem Fewo; who would exit the match in the 28th minute after picking up an injury, took a shot that bounced off a Riverhounds defender and would roll to a wide open Fall. His precise shot into the top corner gave Rochester a 2-0 lead that they would comfortably hold onto for the rest of the match.
Ryan James had a chance to extend the lead, latching onto a Kenardo Forbes corner at the top of the box, forcing Riverhounds goalkeeper Matt Perrella to make an awkward save after taking a deflection on the way to goal.
In the beginning of the second half, Perrella came up with a spectacular double save on Jochen Graf to prevent Rochester from going 3 goals ahead.
Rochester’s back line was well organized and prevented Pittsburgh from forming any hint of an attack the entire night, making 23 tackles in the victory. The Riverhounds finished the game without a shot on goal. Rhinos goalkeeper and Penfield-native Dan Lynd earned his 3rd clean sheet of the season. Click here for match stats!
The Riverhounds were previously eliminated from playoff contention.
The Rochester Rhinos now come home for their final two matches of the season to face the Bethlehem Steel (Tuesday at 7:05 PM) and the New York Red Bulls II (Saturday at 6:05 PM) and will attempt to claim a top-4 playoff spot to host their opening round playoff match.