Rhinos Brave Weather, Advance In Open Cup

The Rochester Rhinos defeated GPS Portland Phoenix (PDL) 1:0 in the Second Round of the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 in Sahlen's Stadium. As a result, the Rhinos advance to the Third Round of the 2013 U.S. Open Cup where they will host the New England Revolution (MLS) in Sahlen's Stadium on Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 at 7:35PM.

New England Revolution right back Bilal Duckett scored the game winning goal off of a corner kick from Danny Earls in the 65th minute, and Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht made three saves to keep the second clean sheet of his U.S. Open Cup career with Rochester.

The Second Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup was Rhinos Interim Head Coach Pat Ercoli's first match back in charge of the club. Ercoli coached the Rhinos during the most storied period in franchise history from their founding in 1996 through 2004. Ercoli won 16 trophies as the head coach of the Rhinos including seven trips to the finals of major competitions, three A-League Championships (1998, 2000, and 2001) and the 1999 U.S. Open Cup.

Ercoli only made one change to the line-up that played in the last match - a 1:0 defeat to top of the table Orlando City on Saturday, May 18th, 2013. He replaced New England Revolution striker Matt Horth with veteran Scottish striker Tam McManus.

GPS Portland Phoenix started two goal star striker Pierre Omanga and goalkeeper Adam Perron who both starred in the club's 2:0 victory over Mass Premier Soccer in the First Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, May 14th. Former Rhino Nano Short, former Brown University star Sean Rosa, and midfielder Emmanuel Appiah, who had an assist in the First Round, also returned to the starting line-up for GPS Portland.

The Rochester Rhinos had the first chance of the match in the 14th minute off of a set piece. Rhinos left back Danny Earls took a free kick after GPS Portland midfielder Clement Bompart was judged to have fouled Rhinos right midfielder Ross LaBauex. Earls service found Rhinos forward Blake Brettschneider at the far post. Brettschneider headed the ball back to the penalty spot where Tam McManus hit a volley that went just over the crossbar.

Five minutes later the creativity of Rhinos right winger Mike Reidy created another chance for the home side. After an extended spell of possession, Reidy unlocked the GPS Portland defense when he flicked the ball into the path of Rhinos center midfielder Tyler Rosenlund 25 yards out from GPS Portland's goal. Rosenlund played the ball wide to Rhinos right back Bilal Duckett. Duckett served the ball to Brettschneider at the far post. Brettschneider headed the ball down on the goal line, but GPS Portland goalkeeper Adam Perron dove to his right to make the save.

In the 29th minute the Rhinos tried to break down the GPS Portland defense with a shot from distance. Rochester had possession of the ball in the final third, and Earls played the ball from the left flank to Rosenlund in the middle of the field. Rosenlund dropped the ball to defensive midfielder Lance Rozeboom, and he took a touch before driving the ball on goal from 35 yards. Rozeboom's effort was well struck, but it ended up being straight at Perron

The Rhinos had the final chance of the first half in the 44th minute. Earls served a corner kick into the box where Rozeboom and Perron arrived to the ball at the same time. The ball popped straight up in the air, but Perron was able to catch the ball in a crowded goal mouth to preserve the shut out.

Both teams entered the half tied at zero.

Halftime was extended from the standard 15 minute intermission to a delay of just about 75 minutes due to lightning in the area. Play was suspended at 8:42PM and restarted at 9:56PM.

Visiting GPS Portland Phoenix had the opening chance of the second half off of a corner kick. Jonathan Lupinelli served an inswinging ball into the Rhinos goalmouth, but Earls was guarding the near post and headed the ball off of the goal line. Earls header was recycled to the top of the box by GPS, and Emmanuel Appiah struck a shot that Nicht had to dive to his left to parry away.

Two minutes later the Rhinos responded with a half chance in the GPS goalmouth. Rhinos striker Tam McManus chased down a long ball over the top, and brought it under control just before it crossed over the endline. Perron had left his goal in an effort to beat McManus to the ball, so McManus deftly chipped the ball over him and across the empty GPS goal mouth. Reidy was in the area, but he was unable to get a foot to the ball to break the scoreless tie.

The Rochester Rhinos scored the only goal of the match in the 65th minute. One minute before the goal Earls played a long diagonal ball from the left flank to Reidy streaking down the right flank. Reidy was in one-on-one with Perron, but the GPS Portland goalkeeper was able to dive to his left to make the save on Reidy's shot. Earls served the ensuing corner kick into the far post where New England Revolution right back Bilal Duckett finished for his second goal as a Rhino.

The Rhinos goal was the final real opportunity in regulation as Rochester used ball possession and high pressure to keep play locked largely in the GPS Portland half of the field.

In stoppage time Rhinos captain Troy Roberts was judged to have fouled GPS Portland's Caue DaSilva 28 yards out from goal on the left flank. Appiah bent the ensuing free kick up and over the wall, but Nicht made his best save of the match when he tipped the ball around the post with a full extension dive to his right.

The Rhinos 1:0 victory over GPS Portland advances Rochester into the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup where they will host the New England Revolution on Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 at 7:35PM in Sahlen's Stadium.

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