Charleston Top Rhinos in PKs to Advance to Final

On August 11, 2012 the Charleston Battery defeated the Rochester Rhinos 4:0 in Sahlen's Stadium.  It was the Rhinos worst home defeat in the 17 year history of the club.  20 days later Rochester hosted the Battery in the USL PRO semifinal, but passed up two chances to advance and host the USL PRO Final before losing to Charleston in a shootout. 

Striker Kendell McFayden opened the scoring for Rochester in the 55th minute before Tony Donatelli found the equalizer in stoppage time for Charleston.  After thirty scoreless minutes of extra time, the Battery defeated the Rhinos four to three in a seven round shootout.

After a scoreless first half Rochester was able to break through with what appeared to be a crucial goal ten minutes after the intermission.  Winger Danny Earls served a ball into the box with his favored left foot from the left flank.  The Battery's defense was able to scramble the ball away, but only as far as Rhinos center midfielder Tyler Rosenlund at the top of the box.  Rosenlund hit a shot on goal, but Charleston goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra dove to his right and parried the ball away.  McFayden was the first player to the rebound and finished over a stranded Dykstra to give Rochester a 1:0 lead.

The Rhinos held onto their slim lead all the way to the last seconds of stoppage time when Donatelli was able to find the equalizer against his old club.  The Battery's goal started when Charleston left back John Wilson hit a shot from the top of the box that was blocked by Rhinos substitute Kyle Manscuk.  Manscuk's block cleared the ball out of the penalty area, but the Battery served the ball back into the mixer.  Rhinos center back Georgios Kyriazis attempted to clear the ball out of the box, but his clearing attempt hit Manscuk in the back.  The ball deflected off Manscuk and fell to Charleston's Kyle Hoffer.  Hoffer calmly served a ball into the far post that Donatelli was able to finish with a header to level the score at one.

After thirty scoreless minutes of extra time the match ended in a draw, and the club that would advance and host the USL PRO Final had to be decided on penalty kicks.  The Rhinos took the first kick of the shootout, but Dykstra saved Rhinos super sub Andrew Hoxie.  Nicki Paterson converted his penalty to give Charleston a 1:0 lead after the first round.  Kyriazis, Earls, and substitute Gustavo Zamudio converted Rochester's next three penalties.  Donatelli missed the Battery's second kick and Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht saved Charleston captain Colin Falvey to give Rochester a three to two lead heading into the fifth round of kicks.  Rhinos captain Troy Roberts had a chance to win the shootout, but he missed his penalty and Charleston substitute Zach Prince converted to force an extra round of penalties.  After both keepers made saves in the sixth round, Dykstra saved Rosenlund's penalty to start the seventh round and JC Mack converted his kick to send Charleston through to the finals.

It is the second consecutive year that the Rochester Rhinos have been eliminated in the semifinal round in Sahlen's Stadium.

The Charleston Battery will host the Wilmington Hammerheads in Blackbaud Stadium in the USL PRO Final on Friday, September 8th.

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