Rhinos Fall Late To Orlando City

The visiting Orlando City Lions defeated the Rochester Rhinos 1:0 in Sahlen's Stadium on Saturday, May 18th, 2013.

City Lions midfielder Eric Ustruck scored the game winning goal in the 85th minute from an assist by 2012 USL PRO Most Valuable Player Kevin Molino. City goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo made two saves to keep his second clean sheet of the season. Orlando City won the match despite playing the final 52 minutes a man down after midfielder Jean Alexandre was sent off in the 38th minute when he received his second booking of the match.

Orlando City manager Adrian Heath did not make the trip to Harrisburg and Rochester due to an illness, so player/coach Ian Fuller was left in charge of the club. Fuller, a former Rhinos player, made five changes to the line-up that played to a 2:2 draw in Harrisburg on Friday, May 17th. He started four new midfielders with Johnny Mendoza, Anthony Pulis, Erik Ustruck, and Jean Alexandre replacing Christian Duke, Kevin Molino, James O'Connor, and Jamie Watson. Fuller also replaced USL PRO leading scorer Dom Dwyer with off-season acquisition Long Tan (D.C. United).

Rochester Rhinos manager Jesse Myers made no changes to the line-up that defeated Wilmington 1:0 in Legion Stadium on May 10th.

In the 20th minute Orlando City created the first chance of the match when right back Bryan Burke played an early ball into the Rhinos box. The Rhinos back four didn't chase the ball down because they believed City Lions striker Dennis Chin was in an offside position, but the assistant referee disagreed. Chin was in through on goal, but Rhinos keeper Kristian Nicht made a breakaway save at Chin's feet to deflect the ball over the end line.

Orlando City's defensive midfielder Jean Alexandre was sent off by head referee Chris Penso for his second bookable offense in the 38th minute. Alexandre was booked in the 25th minute for a tackle from behind on Rhinos forward Tam McManus. He received his second yellow card for pulling back Rhinos left midfielder Ross LaBauex by the arm in the 38th minute. The ejection left Orlando City to play a man down for the final 52 minutes of the match after having just played 90 minutes the night before in Harrisburg.

The Rochester Rhinos nearly capitalized on the man advantage at the end of the first half. After Coach Myers instructed LaBauex and Mike Reidy to switch flanks, LaBauex served a ball into the Orlando City box from the right flank that found Reidy on the far post. Reidy sent the ball across the City Lions goal mouth, but Rhinos right back Bilal Duckett had his header batted away by Orlando City keeper Miguel Gallardo. Gallardo's clearance only went as far as Rhinos center midfielder Tyler Rosenlund at the penalty spot, but Rosenlund's effort was cleared off the City Lions goal line by center back Yann Songo'o.

Both teams entered half time tied 0:0.

The Rhinos had the first chance of the second half in the 60th minute. Rochester left back Danny Earls made an overlapping run and received a through ball on the left flank. Earls took the ball to the end line before he played it back to McManus on the penalty spot. McManus put his shot on goal, but it was straight at Gallardo.

In the 75th minute Orlando City began to generate pressure on the Rhinos with their first of three scoring chances in the last 15 minutes. The build-up started when substitute Dom Dwyer received the ball in the Rhinos box with his back to goal. Dwyer took a touch and quickly played the ball out wide to City left back Luke Boden in the advanced flank. Boden served the ball into the near post, but Nicht was able to punch the ball away. Nicht's clearance only went as far as substitute midfielder Christian Duke at the top of the Rhinos box. However, Duke's effort went wide of the Rhinos goal and the match remained scoreless.

Three minutes later Orlando City nearly finished a corner kick. Nicht tried to catch the Lions inswinging service at the near post, but he dropped the ball when he collided with some traffic in his goal mouth. City Lions center back Yann Songo'o was the first player to get to the loose ball. He put a shot on the Rhinos empty goal, but Rochester center back Georgios Kyriazis cleared the ball off the goal line. Rhinos right back Bilal Duckett momentarily shielded Kyriazis' clearance until Nicht could dive on the loose ball.

In the 82nd minute the Rhinos generated their last chance of the match when Reidy cut inside from the left flank on his favored right foot, and he found 2012 Rhinos MVP JC Banks at the top of the Orlando City box. Banks took a touch and drifted right just before he took a shot that missed the far post of Orlando City's goal.

Orlando City scored the game winning goal in the 85th minute. Substitute Kevin Molino served the ball in from the left flank with his right foot. Molino's cross was over the heads of Rochester Rhinos center backs Troy Roberts and Kyriazis, but it found the head of a leaping Erik Ustruck who had surged into the Rhinos box from his position in midfield. Ustruck's header left Nicht with no chance as it ended up in the upper right corner of the Rhinos goal.

Orlando City's 1:0 victory in Rochester leaves them at the top of the table with 23 points - seven points clear of the second place Harrisburg City Islanders. The defeat leaves Rochester in 12th place with four points.

The Rochester Rhinos next home match is Tuesday, May 21st 2013 at 7:35PM in Sahlen's Stadium against the GPS Portland Phoenix in the Second Round of the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

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