Rhinos stunned on late free kick in 1-0 loss

ROCHESTER, NY - The Rochester Rhinos lost 1-0 to the Charleston Battery on Saturday night in a matchup between two of the top 5 teams in the USL Eastern Conference. Justin Portillo found the net for the Battery on an 84th-minute free kick. The Rhinos fall to 9-5-8 (35 points) on the season, while Charleston breaks a 7-match winless streak and moves to second place with an 11-5-8 record (41 points).

Dan Lynd made three saves in an otherwise spectacular match for the Penfield native.

Rochester was without their captain Kenardo Forbes after he picked up a three-match ban for being charged with violent conduct after his red card against New York Red Bulls II on August 5th. He will sit out his final match next Saturday vs. St. Louis.

The Rhinos defense came up huge on several occasions, starting in the 35th minute. USL co-leading scorer Romario Williams got the ball on the right side with the Lynd charging down. Williams slotted the ball to Kotaro Higashi with the open goal in front of him, but Ryan James and Ryan Felix came up with back-to-back blocks to keep the match scoreless.

In the 59th minute, Charleston’s Williams received the ball in the box and placed a shot perfectly through Lynd’s legs towards goal. Rhinos center back Joe Farrell sprinted towards his line and cleared the ball away before falling into the post.

A minute later, Lynd made a huge save on Williams as he rifled a shot on goal off a blocked attempt from Mikael Chang.

Despite all the great efforts in the back, Rochester would let the match slip away. After a Wal Fall, Charleston’s Justin Portillo would line up a free kick from 25 yards out on the left side of the goal. Portillo curled the ball around the wall looking for one of his teammates, yet it went untouched and found the side netting, deceiving Lynd and giving the Battery a late 1-0 lead.

Rochester would have two great chances in stoppage time, both coming from Sofiane Tergou crosses on the left wing. Jalen Brown would have both of his late headers stopped by Charleston goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper made two spectacular saves to preserve a five save clean sheet, his 7th of the season.

Julian Büscher was acquired earlier in the week on loan from D.C. United and came on as a substitute in the 64th minute. His impact was immediately felt, as his playmaking abilities led to several corners and offensive chances.

The Rhinos will get ready to face St. Louis FC at home next Saturday, August 26th at 6:05 PM. It’s Bark at the Park presented by UR Medicine Home Care, all fans are allowed to bring their dogs into the stadium!

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