Rhinos Push 1st Place Orlando In Electric Loss

Jamie Watson scored the game's only goal early in the second half as first place Orlando City held off the Rhinos 1-0 at Sahlen's Stadium Friday night.

Both teams lost a player to red cards in the second half. J.C. Banks was the guilty party for Rochester with about 20 minutes to go in regulation, but the sides were evened up about five minutes later. Both ejections were after a 2nd yellow card.

Orlando jumped out and controlled the first 20 minutes of the game, but could not get a shot on frame.

Rochester ended up with the best chance of the first half off a corner kick. Sean Kelley saved a point blank header, but could not control it--the ball happened to be hit right at him. The rebound bounced around three feet in front of the goal line for a few seconds before George Kyriazis struck it solid, but over the crossbar.

The Lions turned up the pressure early in the second half. Kristian Nicht made back to back sprawling saves moments apart to keep the game scoreless.

However, just five minutes later, Watson received the ball with tons of space about 35 yards outside the goal. He completely undressed Troy Roberts at the top of the box and slotted a 14 yard shot just inside the far post.

The Rhinos almost tied the game immediately. Danny Earls free kick from 22 yards out bounced off the bottom of the crossbar and came out, then bounced high. Orlando headed the rebound over the crossbar to end the threat.

Rochester had one final golden chance just before stoppage time. Late sub Quavas Kirk hit a beautiful ball on a rope eight yards outside the goal line and Andrew Hoxie headed it on goal with plenty of pace. However, Kelley was in the right spot again and made a diving save to keep the Rhinos off the scoreboard.

Orlando has long clinched first place in USL Pro. Rochester is trying to hold off Charleston for second place and the final first round bye in the playoffs. The Battery tied Wilmington 2-2 Friday night to pull within four points of the Rhinos, but Charleston also has two games in hand.

Rochester next plays Saturday, August 11th at home against that same Battery team. Kickoff is at 7pm.

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