The defending USL PRO champion Orlando City Lions defeated the Rhinos 3:1 in Rochester's season opener on Saturday April 5th. Kevin Molino and Rob Valentino scored first half goals to give defending USL PRO champion Orlando City Lions a 2:0 lead at the half. JC Banks scored the Rochester Rhinos first goal of the season in the 54th minute, but substitute Dennis Chin secured all three points in the 75th minute for Orlando City.
The victory was the first of the season for Orlando City, and came in the Lions third match of the season. Orlando City had previously played to a 1:1 draw with the Charleston Battery on March 22nd, and a 1:1 draw with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on March 29th.
The defending USL PRO champions opened the scoring in the third minute. El Salvadorian attacking midfielder Darwin Cerén set right back Tyler Turner loose down the right flank. Turner crossed the ball to Corey Hertzig who's shot was blocked at the near post. However, the deflection fell to Molino who was eight yards out in the middle of the Rhinos penalty area. Molino kept his composure and gave Rochester goalkeeper Luis Soffner no chance as he finished into the upper right hand corner of the net.
Orlando City doubled their advantage in the 35th minute. Cerén played a reverse pass to Taylor down the right flank, but Rhinos left back Ayao Sossou was able to block Taylor's service over the end line for a Lions corner kick. On the ensuing corner kick Cerén served the ball into the top of the six yard box. Soffner got off his line to punch the ball clear, but his effort fell to the feet of Yordany Alvarez in the Rhinos penalty area. Alvarez played a square ball to Valentino who punched the ball into the back of the net.
Rochester cut Orlando City's lead in half in the 54th minute. Lions center back Brad Rusin was under heavy pressure from the Rhinos, and tried to relieve it with a back pass to his goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo. However, Banks was able to cut out the back pass and dribble in on the Orlando City goal. Banks took a shot low to the near post, but Gallardo was able to dive to his left and parry the ball away. The rebound fell straight into Banks' path, and he was able to power the ball into the roof of the net giving Gallardo no chance to recover.
Orlando City closed out the scoring in the 75th minute. Their attacking move started when Cerén was able to set Molino loose down the right flank. Molino crossed the ball along the ground at the top of the Rhinos six yard box. Rochester center back Kyle Hoffer was not able to cut out the service, and Chin tucked the ball past Soffner to secure all three points for the home side.
The Rhinos next match is Friday, April 11th 2014 at the Dayton Dutch Lions. Kickoff is slated for 7PM, and the match can be seen live in its entirety via streaming video on the Dutch Lions YouTube Live channel.
The Rhinos will open their 19th season in Rochester on Sunday, April 27th at 4PM in Sahlen's Stadium against the Charleston Battery.