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Rhinos Score Early, Then Get Pounded
The Rochester Rhinos lost to the Richmond Kickers 4:1 in City Stadium on Saturday, April 20, 2013. The match was the Rhinos fourth in eight days as Rochester began the 2013 USL PRO season with consecutive back-to-back weekends away from home. The Rhinos open the season winless after four games for the third time in franchise history. Each of the previous two seasons Rochester recovered to make the playoffs - including 1996 when they reached the USL and U.S. Open Cup Finals.
Rochester Rhinos off season acquisition Matt Luzunaris opened his scoring account with his new club in the 3rd minute, but Michael Callahan tied the match for Richmond in first half stoppage time. Second half red cards to Rochester Rhinos center back Georgios Kyriazis and center midfielder Tyler Rosenlund reduced the visitors to nine men, and Richmond took full advantage with goals from Joseph Ngweyna, Nate Robinson, and Stanley Nyzamba.
Rochester Rhinos head coach Jesse Myers made one change to the starting 11 that played to a scoreless draw with Charlotte 24 hours earlier with Michael Tanke replacing Tyler Polak. The change seemed subtle enough, but it wasn't a like-for-like change and shuffled players all over the park. Danny Earls started at left back for the first time in 2013 - a position he played for two years in Major League Soccer with Colorado. Gabe Latigue moved from the right wing to the left wing, and Blake Brettschneider moved from the withdrawn forward spot to the right flank. All the movement resulted in the Rhinos first start in a 1-4-5 formation with a true holding midfielder in Tanke.
Luzunaris alleviated any concern that Myers more defensive look might struggle to create chances in the third minute. Richmond center backs William Yomby and Conor Shanosky badly miscommunicated on a ball that ended up splitting them. Shanosky made a last ditch sliding attempt to tackle the ball away from Luzunaris, but the Rhinos striker was able to poke the ball through to put himself in on goal. Luzunaris was calm, cool, and composed as he hit his breakaway finish past Richmond's goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra to the far post.
Three minutes later there was a major talking point for the visitors. Rhinos center back Troy Roberts played a long ball to Luzunaris. Luzunaris checked to and flicked the ball on with a header. Rhinos center midfielder Tyler Rosenlund ran onto the through ball in the Richmond penalty box, and Yomby collided with Rosenlund sending both players to the ground. The referee got a good look at the incident and decided to play on.
Tanke left the match with an apparent head injury in the 35th minute, and his absence changed the complexion of the match.
Richmond had their first chance in an extended spell of attacking pressure three minutes later. The Kickers took a throw-in and left sided player Sascha Goerres took the ball out of the air. Goerres played the ball from the left flank to center midfielder Luke Vercollone. Vercollone squared the ball to his fellow center midfielder Michael Callahan. Callahan hit a hard shot from the top of the penalty area and Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht dove to his right and made the save with a top handed parry.
In the 45th minute another Richmond throw-in resulted in a Kickers opportunity after Nate Robinson received the ball at the top of the box and ripped a shot on the Rhinos goal. Nicht tipped the ball over the bar with his left hand to keep the score 1:0.
The Kickers drew level in first half stoppage time when Goerres sprung Robinson on the left flank with a little left footed through ball. Robinson got to the endline, held the ball for an extra touch, and then dropped it to the penalty spot where in found Callahan making a late run into the box unmarked. Callahan kept his composure and finished from 12 yards out to send both teams to the half level at one.
The Richmond Kickers scored the game winning goal in the 51st minute. Ngweyna got in on goal with a subtle touch past Rhinos center back Georgios Kyriazis after a good build up from the Kickers. With Ngweyna behind him and left with a one-on-one with Nicht, Kyriazis committed a professional foul in the penalty area. Kyriazis was sent off and Ngweyna converted the penalty himself to give Richmond a 2:1 lead.
The Kickers extended the lead in the 67th minute. After Richmond took three consecutive corner kicks, Goerres knocked Rochester's defensive clearance back in to Robinson. Robinson received the ball on the left flank, cut into the Rhinos box, and shot the ball through a crowd of Rhinos defenders and Richmond attackers. Robinson received credit for the goal, but it appeared that it might have deflected past Nicht with a little touch from Kickers forward Jason Yeisley.
Ten minutes later Rochester was reduced to nine men when Rhinos center midfielder Tyler Rosenlund was sent off. Rosenlund was judged to have committed serious foul play when he tackled Juan Arbelaez, and he was shown a straight red card by the referee.
Richmond concluded the scoring in the 85th minute when Dykstra started the Kickers attack with an excellent piece of goalkeeper distribution. Richmond's move up the pitch ended with the ball on substitute Stanley Nyzamba's foot in the Rochester penalty area. Nyzamba played a one-two and then finished past Nicht into the upper right corner.