Rhinos Come Back to Take Down Saint Louis FC
ROCHESTER, NY - The Rhinos came from behind to defeat Saint Louis FC 2-1 on a chilly Saturday night at Capelli Sport Stadium. Jochen Graf scored the match-winning goal in the 55th minute off a cross from Christiano Francois. Francois hadn’t started a match since April 29th after requiring multiple eye surgeries and collected his third assist of the season.
Rochester did not get off to a good start, as STLFC’s Ryan Howe laced a 35-yard free kick that beat the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Tomas Gomez to give them a 1-0 lead just 3 minutes into the match. However, this would be their only shot on goal for the entire evening.
The Rhinos did not waste any time coming back, as newcomer Julian Büscher served in a corner that found the head of Christiano Francois who directed it on goal. STLFC’s leading scorer Seth Rudolph had his arm outstretched and blocked the ball from going into the goal. Rudolph was shown a red card and Saint Louis played the rest of the match with just 10 men. Wal Fall stepped up and converted the penalty kick in the 7th minute for his 8th goal of the year (6-for-6 on penalties) and the match was tied at 1.
The Rhinos outshot STLFC in this match 21-4, and 37-7 over the course of their two matchups this season. Winning this match was no easy task, however.
Jochen Graf would get his first opportunity of the night 18 minutes in as Bradley Kamdem Fewo found Graf on a low cross, but former Rhinos goalkeeper Adam Grinwis came up big to make one of his seven saves on the night.
Rochester would have a penalty shout denied by the referee in the 37th minute when Francois looked to be pulled down in the box, much to the dismay of the crowd and Coach Bob Lilley.
Just before halftime, Wal Fall juked his defender, got into the box and hit it hard towards the near post, but Grinwis was on the doorstep once again to make a diving stop.
The Rhinos would finally break through in the 55th minute as Francois served in a perfect ball from the right wing that found the streaking Graf inside the six-yard box. Graf punched it home and celebrated his 6th goal of the season. It was Francois’ 3rd assist of the season in just 5 appearances this year - good for second on the team.
Ryan James hit the crossbar a few minutes later on a shot from about 25 yards, nearly finding his first goal of the season.
Saint Louis did have their chances late and admirably stayed in this match down the stretch, but Rochester would walk off the field with all three points on the day.
“It’s great that we got the three points today, but we made a lot of mistakes” stated Rhinos Head Coach Bob Lilley, “We let them hang around all match a man down and we made a lot of mistakes. The playoffs are coming up soon and we need to tighten up.”
The Rhinos hit the road to face Toronto FC II on Saturday, September 2nd at 7:30 PM for the third time this season. Rochester drew 0-0 on April 7th in Canada and won 2-0 here at Capelli Sport Stadium on July 26th. The Rhinos will return home on Saturday, September 9th at 6:05 PM to play the Ottawa Fury.