The Rochester Rhinos lost to the Wilmington Hammerheads 1:0 in Sahlen's Stadium on Saturday, July 19th 2014. Wilmington's 18 year-old loanee from their MLS affiliate Toronto FC Jordan Hamilton scored the only goal of the match in the 77th minute. Hammerheads goalkeeper Quillan Roberts kept the clean sheet for the visitors.
The Rhinos have been held scoreless in 4 of their 10 league home games so far this season.
Wilmington scored the only goal of the match in the 77th minute. The Hammerheads had been threatening Rochester with long balls over the top of the Rhinos back four throughout the second half and finally capitalized. Hamilton made a run that split Rhinos center backs Babacar Diallo and Kyle Hoffer at the midfield stripe to get on the end of a long ball. Hamilton used his pace to get into the box on a breakaway, but Rochester goalkeeper Luis Soffner was smartly off his line to block Hamilton's shot. Hamilton was first to the loose ball and tapped it into an empty net to give the visitors the lead. The goal was the fifth of the season for Hamilton.
Rochester had its best chance of the match in the 51st minute. New England Revs loanee Donnie Walsh dribbled across the midfield stripe on a Rhinos counter attack down the left flank, and centered the ball to Rhinos star attacking midfielder JC Banks. Banks played a through ball to attacking midfielder Jonny Mendoza that put him in behind the Hammerheads back four. Mendoza dribbled into the Wilmington penalty area, took the ball to his left around Wilmington's onrushing goalkeeper Roberts, and then put a shot on goal, but he could not finish from an acute angle. The ball ended up in the side netting and the match remained scoreless.
Three chance unfolded during end-to-end action in the 68th minute. The Rhinos Banks was waved back on to the field by head referee Vito Testa Jr. after an injury, and he immediately jumped in on a Rhinos counter attack. Rochester's Mendoza had possession on the right flank in front of the Rhinos bench when Banks came back on the field, and played a through ball to Banks down the right flank. Banks dribbled the ball to the endline before cutting the ball back to take on Hammerheads right back Albert Edward. Banks cut unbalanced Edward and he fell to the turf giving Banks free service. Banks whipped the ball into the box where it bounced off the shoulder of Wilmington center back Christian Davidson. Davidson had both hands behind his back when the ball struck his shoulder in the Hammerheads penalty area, so Testa Jr. allowed play to continue. Wilmington cleared the ball to center midfielder Paul Nicholson at the midfield stripe, and he flicked the ball on to substitute Samuel Ochoa with his first touch.
Ochoa, the Hammerheads leading scorer, was in behind the Rhinos back four, but center back Hoffer had the angle and chased Ochoa down from sixty yards before his poke tackle played the ball back to his goalkeeper Soffner's feet eight yards out from the home side's goal. Soffner sparked an immediate counter attack back down to the other end that ended with Smith cutting into the Wilmington box from the left flank and taking a shot that Roberts had to dive to his left to parry away. On the ensuing corner kick a Diallo header ended up in Roberts hands ending the most open sequence in the match with chances but no goal.
Roberts came to the rescue for Wilmington again in the 76th minute. Rhinos substitute Michael Garzi won a loose ball near midfield and played a negative pass to Diallo at the midfield stripe. Diallo took a touch before switching fields with a diagonal ball to Smith down the right flank. Smith got on the end of Diallo's pass, cut into the Wilmington box on his left foot, and then blistered a shot bound for the upper left corner with his left foot. Roberts flew to his right to parry the ball away for a corner kick.
Roberts ended the match with four saves on ten shots faced for his fifth clean sheet of the season.
The victory moves Wilmington up to sixth place in the USL PRO table with 25 points from 15 matches after the Hammerheads took four points from their back-to-back trip north this weekend. The Rhinos remain in fifth place with 27 points from 20 matches. There were two matches in USL PRO left to be completed on Saturday night that could have an impact on the final standings at the end of the night.
The Rochester Rhinos next home match is Sunday, July 27th at 4:05PM in Sahlen's Stadium against top of the table Orlando City SC.