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Rhinos Get Hammered In Lions' Den
Top of the table Orlando City defeated the Rochester Rhinos 4:0 in Florida's Citrus Bowl on Saturday, July 14th. City used three goals in the first half hour to put the game out of reach. The victory opens up an 11 point gap between Rochester and Orlando City with five matches left on the Rhinos 2012 USL PRO regular season schedule. The Rochester Rhinos will finish the weekend in third place, and they will look to regroup next Saturday night against Pittsburgh in Sahlen's Stadium.
Rhinos coach Jesse Myers made four changes to the lineup that played to a 0:0 draw in Wilmington on Thursday night. An injury to star winger JC Banks forced him from the lineup, and Danny Earls moved up from left back to the wing to replace him. An injury to right winger Quavas Kirk forced Myers to start Conor Chinn on the right. Forward Tom McManus returned to the starting lineup and replaced Andrew Hoxie. Drew Cost replaced Michael Tanke in center midfield. Rookie Chris Estridge made his first start of the season at left back.
Orlando City opened the scoring in the 10th minute. After an extended spell of possession the Lions played Kevin Molino in behind the Rhinos back four on the right flank. The Rhinos four defenders all had their hands in the air asking for an offside call, but none was given. Molino used the time and space he had to play a perfect cross to Matthew Luzunaris on the back post for a tap-in finish.
The Lions doubled their lead five minutes later. Adama Mbengue was fouled by Rhinos center midfielder Tyler Rosenlund 25 yards out from the Rochester goal. The Rhinos built an eight man wall to defend the free kick, but Jerome Mechack hit a knuckling free kick that beat the wall and left goalkeeper Kristian Nicht with no chance.
Orlando City struck again in the 27th minute. Luke Boden drove a corner into the box from the right flank. 2011 USL PRO Defender of the Year Rob Valentino headed the set piece home to give City a 3:0 lead in Florida's Citrus Bowl.
Rodrigo Lopez finished the scoring with a spot kick in the 73rd minute.
The next Rhinos home game is Saturday, July 21st at 7PM against Pittsburgh in Sahlen's Stadium.