Rhinos Score Late Against Harrisburg to Return to Winning Ways
The Rhinos got back to their winning ways at home, defeating the Harrisburg City Islanders 1-0 in the inaugural Capelli Sport Hero Cup. Rhinos substitute Jochen Graf came up huge in the 85th minute, burying a Joe Farrell cross from close range for his 3rd goal of the season.
The win broke a 3-match winless streak. Both teams wore specially-designed Capelli Sport camouflage-style jerseys that are available to bid on or purchase right away online through our Bidr online auction. 100% of the proceeds benefit the Rochester-area Veterans Outreach Center and Badge of Honor Association.
Rochester had nearly 60% of the first half possession and outshot the Islanders 6-1 in the frame, but was shut down by Rhinos 2015 USL Championship goalkeeper Brandon Miller, who made three key first-half saves.
Darius Madison started off hot getting in behind the Harrisburg defense on three separate occasions early in the proceedings. In the 6th minute, Madison received a pass from Jordan Dover and was in clear on goal, but a desperation tackle prevented the Rhinos from taking the lead.
5 minutes later, Madison was played through the Islanders defense and got in one-on-one, but Miller came up with a big stop. In the 16th minute, Madison received the ball and dribbled through the middle of the field and beat his defenders before getting shut down by Miller once again.
In the 25th minute, Brandon Beresford nearly capitalized from a dangerous free kick just to the right of the 18-yard box. Kenardo Forbes swung in a whipped ball that took a deflection on its way to Beresford who headed it just beyond the crossbar.
Forbes has led the Rhinos in creating chances all season long and would continue to be dangerous all match long. Madison was fouled in the 32nd minute to set up a free kick from 30 yards out that Forbes whizzed through the box and somehow didn’t get touched en route to goal.
In stoppage time, Miller made his best save of the game as Madison fired a blast into the top left corner of the goal that was somehow plucked out of the air.
Rochester created far fewer chances in the second half, looking at times vulnerable to the Harrisburg counter attack. But, they got the goal they needed in the end.
“I thought in the first half we were on top of them,” Coach Bob Lilley stated, “If we had recovered a bit better we could have had 15 shots on goal instead of 6.”
65 minutes into the contest, Forbes found the head of Graf immediately after he came on. His header was blocked and would be recycled by the Rhinos defenders. Forbes would receive the ball back and crack a shot from distance that pinged off the stanchion behind the goal.
In the 75th minute, Rochester had a set piece opportunity that nearly cashed in. From the edge of the box, Forbes opted to lay a clever ball off to Wal Fall who was running away from goal and sailed his shot over the crossbar.
Just as hope was seeming to fade, it was Jochen Graf to the rescue and three points to Rochester. Joe Farrell served in an absolute gem of a cross towards a scrum of streaking Rhinos players and found the foot of Graf who slammed it home from 6 yards.
“In the box, it’s just instinct,” Graf said after the match, “It was a really good cross from Joe (Farrell), he’s got a lot of quality for a center back going forward. I made my run and was lucky to get on the end of it.”
2016 USL Golden Glove goalkeeper Tomas Gomez recorded two saves for Rochester and is now tied for the USL lead with 7 clean sheets.
The Rhinos improve to 6-3-6 and jumped up to 5th place in the Eastern Conference. Rochester will travel to Ottawa next Saturday for a 2 PM match. Harrisburg has not defeated the Rhinos since 2013 and fell to 4-6-4 on the year.