The Rochester Rhinos rescued a point with an 88th minute goal from veteran Scottish striker Thomas Kelly McManus to earn a 2:2 draw with the fourth place L.A. Blues in Sahlen's Stadium on Friday, May 31st, 2013.
Rhinos forward Blake Brettschneider scored his second goal of the season to tie the score at 1:1 in the 51st minute after reigning USL PRO Player of the Week Chris Cortez opened the scoring for the visiting Blues in the 40th minute. George Davis IV looked like he had scored the game winning goal for the Blues in the 82nd minute before McManus scored the final goal of the match six minutes later. Brettschneider and Cortez both had assists for their respective teams in the match.
The LA Blues opened the scoring in the 40th minute. Midfielder Gabriel Gonzalez created the scoring chance with a one time flick over the top that caught the Rhinos back four by surprise. Cortez was the first player to Gonzalez's flick after he was able to beat Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht to the ball, and he headed into into the empty net to give the visitors a 1:0 lead.
The Rochester Rhinos found their first equalizer of the match in the 51st minute. The build-up began on the right flank when rookie winger Michael Reidy and Gabe Latigue combined for a one-two setting up Latigue with time and space to play a through ball to center midfielder Tyler Rosenlund. Rosenlund took the ball all the way to the endline of the right side of the Blues penalty area before he picked up his head, took a touch, and played a ball back to Rhinos forward Blake Brettschneider at the top of the six yard box. Brettschneider took a touch and finished past Blues goalkeeper Mohammed Mohammadi from seven yards out to tie the match at one.
The LA Blues looked like they scored the game winning goal in the 82nd minute. Cortez found time on the ball and space 30 yards out from the Rhinos goal, and he shot the ball from distance. Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht dove to his left and made the save but he couldn't hold onto the ball. Blues striker George Davis IV was the first player to the ball and finished to give the visiting team a 2:1 lead.
The Rhinos found the equalizer in the 88th minute. Rhinos right back Josh Faga had the ball on the Blues end line, and he played it back to the top of the LA Blues penalty box. Brettschneider met the ball at the top of the box at the same time a Blues defender did, and the loose ball popped to McManus 12 yards out. McManus finished the ball past the diving Mohammadi to draw the Rhinos back to level at 2:2.
The Rhinos had a final chance to win the match in stoppage time. Left back Danny Earls played Reidy through down the left flank. Reidy cut into the Blues box on his favored right foot, but his shot on goal struck the cross bar and bounced clear.
The draw in Sahlen's Stadium moves the Rhinos into a tie with Wilmington for 11th place in the USL PRO table. The top eight teams in the league will make the 2013 playoffs.
The Rhinos next match is Saturday, June 1st at 7PM in Highmark Stadium against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
The Rochester Rhinos will host the Montreal Impact (MLS) Reserves in their next home match on Friday, June 7th at 7:35PM in Sahlen's Stadium.