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Rhinos fight to 1-1 draw in Tampa

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TAMPA, FL - Jochen Graf’s second goal of the USL season wasn’t enough to get the win, as the Rhinos and the Rowdies battled to a 1-1 draw at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night. Rochester improves to 4-1-5 on the season, while Tampa Bay will go to 6-3-5.

Rochester got off to a quick start, as Wal Fall hit a long and hopeful ball up the field for Graf. Rowdies defender Neil Collins had his pocket picked by Graf who ticked it over the keeper to give the Rhinos a 1-0 lead just 5 minutes in.

Tampa Bay dominated possession the entire match and it paid off in the 19th minute. Long-time Bundesliga defender and former German international Marcel Schafer put a tasty cross towards the near post that found the foot of Joe Cole sliding in. The former England international’s 4th goal of the season leveled the match at 1.

Despite only having 31% of the ball, the Rhinos had more shots on goal and were dangerous on set piece opportunities. Wal Fall had two first-half free kicks from the right side that required Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens to make a pair of diving saves. He finished with four for the game.

In the other net, 2016 USL Golden Glove winner Tomas Gomez was again dominant and aggressive off his line, making several key punches which neutralized numerous attacks and many of Tampa Bay’s 9 corners.

The Rowdies showed their class in attack on several occasions. Leo Fernandes was a force for Tampa Bay, and nearly scored a missile in the 27th minute, with the ball scorching just high and wide of the post. Their best chance to win the match came in the 61st minute when Cole was put in 1-on-1 with Gomez and slid the ball less than a foot wide of the right post.

Jochen Graf nearly won the match in the 71st minute as he got through on a 2-on-1 chance. With Beresford to his right, Graf opened up his hips and tried to finesse a shot into the top right corner. Pickens came up with a spectacular save that fell to Beresford looking at an empty net. However, Michael Nanchoff came up with a diving block that kept this match deadlocked.

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