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Rhinos Crushed at Home by Charleston Battery
The Charleston Battery scored three goals on five shots in the first half to keep their hopes alive for a second place finish in USL PRO this season on Saturday, August 11th in Sahlen's Stadium. Former Rhino Tony Danatelli struck twice in twelve minutes and Amadou Sanyang added a third in first half stoppage time to secure three points for the Battery. Rochester remains in second place after the 4:0 result, but Charleston has pulled to within one point of the Rhinos with one match left in the regular season.
Rhinos coach Jesse Myers had to replace three starters who had to sit out the match for disciplinary reasons. Star winger and Rhinos 2012 MVP JC Banks was replaced by former USMNT U17 winger Quavas Kirk. Center midfielder Tyler Rosenlund was replaced by second year Rhino Drew Cost and forward Thomas Kelly McManus was replaced by Rhinos super sub Andrew Hoxie. Myers also chose to make a fourth change when he replaced striker Isaac Kissi with Kendell McFayden.
Charleston coach Mike Anhaeuser made three changes to his side that lost 3:0 to the City Islanders in Harrisburg on Wednesday night. Cody Ellison replaced Kyle Hoffer in central defense. Midfielders Ryan Richter and Mike Ariza replaced Navion Boyd and Dane Kelly.
The Battery opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Right back Taylor Mueller was the first player to a Rhinos clearance, and he played a pass first time to right midfielder Ryan Richter at the top of the box. Richter received the ball with his back to goal, turned with his first touch, and picked out Donatelli at the top of the box. Donatelli shaped his finish into the upper left corner and left Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht with no chance to make a save for the Rhinos.
The Rhinos had a chance to equalize with their first shot of the match in the 24th minute. Rhinos captain Troy Roberts was able to pick out McFayden with a long ball in behind Charleston's back four. McFayden brought the ball out of the air and onto his favored right foot with a superior touch off his chest. However his shot hit the round right post and deflected over the end line for a goal kick.
Charleston doubled their advantage in the 30th minute. The Battery found some time and space on the right flank, and Mueller was able to play forward Jose Cuevas through down the right flank. Cuevas crossed from the end line and found Donatelli's run that split Fernandez and Rhinos center back Georgios Kyriazis. Donatelli finished from the top of the six yard box with a header and Charleston led 2:0.
Rochester had another chance to respond in the 38th minute. Left back Jack Traynor got forward and served the ball into a crowded Charleston box. McFayden beat Charleston keeper Andrew Dykstra to the ball at the top of the six yard box and popped the ball back to Quavas Kirk at the penalty spot. Kirk fought off a couple of Battery defenders and shot the ball on goal. Dykstra didn't know much about Kirk's effort, but it bounced off his leg and the Battery were able to clear the ball.
Charleston closed out the first half with their third goal in stoppage time. Kyriazis fouled Richter thirty yards out from the Rochester goal line after the Rhinos turned it over in their own half. Paterson took the free kick and shot the ball on goal. Nicht got his body behind the ball but couldn't hold onto it and Amadou Sanyang tapped in rebound to give Charleston a 3:0 lead at the half.
Charleston completed the scoring in the 86th minute. Donatelli slotted a thru ball in behind the Rhinos back four and substitute Dane Kelly ran onto it. Kelly took a shot and slotted the ball past Nicht for a 4:0 lead.
At the end of the early matches on Saturday night Rochester still has a chance to finish in second place. Richmond defeated the City Islanders 2:1 at home on Saturday night, and they now have 35 points with a match in hand. The Kickers jumped from seventh to fourth in the table and they will be the odds on favorite finish in second place if they win their last two matches of the season in Antigua. Rochester has to beat Pittsburgh at home next weekend to have an opportunity to finish second. Rochester needs at least a point from next week's season finale in Sahlen's Stadium. If they do not, then it opens the door for Charleston, Wilmington, Harrisburg or Charlotte to pass the Rhinos in the standings.