The Rochester Rhinos played to a 1:1 draw with the defending USL PRO regular season champion Richmond Kickers in City Stadium on Friday, May 2nd. Rhinos substitute attacking midfielder Alex Dixon opened the scoring off of an assist from New England Revs loanee Donnie Smith in the 89th minute. However, Richmond was able to share the points with an equalizer one minute later that was finished by star forward George Davis IV.
The Rhinos entered the match in fifth place in the USL PRO table, but faced the best team in USL PRO over the past year, the third place Richmond Kickers. The Kickers were coming off of an ominous 5:1 victory in Dayton on Saturday, April 26th, and they had already scored 13 goals in their first five matches of the season. To compound the danger to Rochester, the Rhinos were due to play in Wilmington 24 hours later against the Hammerheads in a USL PRO back-to-back weekend.
Rochester Rhinos goalkeeper Luis Soffner, on loan from the New England Revs, made the highlight of the first half in the 33rd minute. Richmond defensive midfielder Jared Jeffrey took possession of the ball from Rozeboom at the bottom of the circle in the Rhinos half of the field. Jeffrey's tackle sparked a counter attack and allowed him to run at the Rochester back four with pace. Jeffrey was able to find Martin with a short pass to his right near the top of the Rhinos box. Martin wrong footed the Rhinos back four, dribbled six yards into the box, and shaped a perfect finish toward the lower left hand corner of the Rhinos goal. Soffner made a full extension dive to his right to parry Martin's shot away, but the rebound found the feet of George Davis IV on the end line. Davis had the composure to control the ball and drop it to Kyle Porter who was 15 yards out on the right side of the penalty area. Porter struck a shot on goal, but Soffner was back on his feet and able to make the save.
The Rhinos opened the scoring in the 89th minute. Substitute left back Onua Thomas Obasi won the ball on the left flank 35 yards out from the Richmond goal, and played Smith through down the left flank. Smith dribbled at the Richmond defense, and put them under pressure allowing him to drop the ball to substitute Alex Dixon at the top of the box. Dixon took a touch and finished into the lower left corner of the Richmond goal to give the visitors a shock lead.
The Kickers found the equalizer off the subsequent kickoff. Martin took possession of the ball and played it out to Lee on the right flank near the midfield stripe. Lee lumped the ball into the Rhinos box, and Delicate was able to win the 50/50 ball and flick it on. Substitute Jason Yeisley, who has missed most of the past season with a concussion, was first to the loose ball and tried to finish in spectacular fashion with an over head kick. Yeisley got his effort on goal, but Hoffer worked his way across the box to block it. The loose ball fell directly to Davis at the top left corner of the six yard box, and Davis left no doubt with a finish past Soffner into the upper right corner to steal a point for the home side.
The Rochester Rhinos conclude their back-to-back weekend in Legion Stadium on Saturday, May 3rd 2014 with a 7:30PM kickoff against the Wilmington Hammerheads. The match can be seen live in its entirety via streaming vidoe on the Hammerheads YouTube channel athttps://www.youtube.com/user/WilmHammerheadsFC.
The Rochester Rhinos next home match is on Saturday, May 10th at 7PM against the defending USL PRO Champion Orlando City.