Thanks to a goal in the 19th minute by J.C. Banks, the Rhinos won the home opener of their 19th season by a 1-0 score over the Charleston Battery Sunday.
However, nothing about the game's finish was easy for Rochester.
Pat McMahon headed a shot off his own goal line after a 2nd half injury time corner kick by the Battery. Earlier in the half, Heviel Cordoves missed the net after getting behind the Rhino back line and Aminu Abdallah cracked a 20-yard shot that bent just right of the post.
Rookie goalkeeper John McCarthy kept his second consecutive clean sheet of the season with two saves.
The goal was Rochester's best moment of the game. After receiving a short pass in the middle of the pitch from fellow holding midfielder Alec Sundly in the build-up, Lance Roseboom played a twenty yard pass into the feet of target player Tyler Rosenlund at the top of the box. Rosenlund had his back to goal, but held off Charleston center back Taylor Mueller, and flicked the ball into the path of withdrawn forward JC Banks. Banks took two touches before he fired past Charleston goalkeeper Eric Shannon and into the lower left hand corner of the Battery goal.
“Rosey was able to get into a pocket of space and receive the ball at his feet.” Banks said. “He flicked the ball onto me, and I was able to control it and put it in the bottom corner of the net. I'm not sure if the goalkeeper was able to see it, or if he was screened, but I felt like I struck it well.”
The goal was Banks third in four matches to start the 2014 USL PRO season.
Head coach Bob Lilley was not happy with the Rhinos' performance. The longer the game wore on, the more Charleston controlled the run of play, which was a surprise considering the Battery played the previous night in Pittsburgh.
"We were on our heels too much," Lilley said. "We needed to get higher up and pressure them more. I think we sat back, especially in the second half, and you can get caught. We won't get three points if we play like that on a regular basis."
Both Lilley and Banks compared the game to the one the Rhinos played in Dayton April 11th. In that game, Rochester allowed a tying goal in the very dying moments of stoppage time. On Sunday, they allowed a very dangerous chance and were fortunate McMahon's head got in the way.
The Rochester Rhinos return to their USL PRO schedule next weekend with a back-to-back road trip to Richmond and Wilmington. The Rhinos will visit the Richmond Kickers on Friday, May 2nd at 7PM in City Stadium. Rochester will visit the Wilmington Hammerheads on Saturday, May 3rd at 7:30PM in Legion Stadium.
The Rochester Rhinos next home match is on Saturday, May 10th at 7PM against the defending USL PRO Champion Orlando City.