First Place Louisville City Hands Rhinos Rare Home Loss
Rochester, NY - The Rochester Rhinos were welcomed home from their two game road trip to a beautiful summer evening at Rochester Rhinos Stadium. In a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals from last season, the Rhinos faced first place Louisville FC. The play picked up quick after the first whistle with both teams playing with great intensity.
The Rhinos had a great opportunity to score early on with a shot from leading goal scorer Christian Volesky, but it was saved by Louisville goalkeeper Ranjitsingh. Louisville however had no problems finding the back of the net in the 28' minute when Andrew Lubahn found service from Niall McCabe to make it 1-0 Louisville City FC.
Due to the heat, three minutes of stoppage time was added to the first half. In that time the Rhinos held their defense high trying to close the gap before half. After a card to Louisville's DelPiccolo for a foul on Garzi, the Rhinos had time to set up an offensive attack, but instead played a short pass that they failed to turn into anything productive. The team entered half down 1-0.
The speed of play did not slow down in the second half as both teams came out fighting. Play was balanced throughout the beginning, with both teams fighting for the advantage. Rhinos goalkeeper Tomas Gomez who had an excellent game against MLS New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, continued to be a force in Rochester's net. The Rhinos offense however struggled to remain on sides as several of their chances were brought to a halt by the whistle. Dos Santos and Forbes came on early in the second half to try and change the pace for the Rhinos offense.
A ball passed by the Louisville defense that allowed for a Asani Samuels break away but the ball outran him straight into Ranjitsingh hands. In the 78' the Rhinos had a scoring opportunity that just skimmed the top of Dos Santos head. A minute later he was taken down just outside Louisville's eighteen for a free kick. With service from Kamdem, the ball goes directly into the head of Louisville City's McCabe who went down immediately.
The Rhinos attempted to even the score in the 82' minute but the goal was called back due to off sides once again. They continued to attack the Louisville defense with little luck in finding a shot on goal. Six minutes of stoppage time weren't enough for the Rhinos to maintain their unbeaten streak.
The loss to Louisville is the first loss for Rochester at home since August 2014.
"I think you have to you look at it from a positive perspective. We are playing well. As the season goes on we will start seeing more results." said Rhinos midfielder Mike Garzi, hopeful about next Saturday's game against Pittsburgh.
Coach Lilley, the team's toughest critic, came into the game aware that Louisville would be a tough battle for the defending champions.
"The performance we did well. It was a bad goal. To play well against Louisville, it was good overall. The result is disappointing but we are building as a team and improving overall." Coach Lilley offered post game.