The Rochester Rhinos enjoyed their best 90 minutes of the season en route to a 4-0 landslide victory over the Charlotte Independence.  Christiano Francois had two assists and drew a penalty in the win where there were four different goal scorers.

The Rhinos and Independence were locked in a stalemate in the first 20 minutes, with each team splitting possession and going without a shot.

Wal Fall created the first real chance of the match when he collected a cleared corner about 30 yards out, beat a defender and got taken down a step outside the box.  Fall would then step up and bury the free kick into the right side of the goal to give the Rhinos a 1-0 advantage in the 27th minute.

Charlotte wouldn’t have to wait long to get a quality look. At the half-hour mark, they would get launch two consecutive free kicks into the box. The first was punched clear by Tomas Gomez, only for the Rhinos would commit an immediate foul. Their second look dropped in the box and looked like the Rhinos would clear it right away, only to be stolen away. The Independence thought they had an open look on goal, but were denied by an outstanding diving tackle by Ryan Felix.

Five minutes later, the Rhinos nearly doubled their advantage as Kenardo Forbes launched a high far-post corner that Fall headed down to Beresford who was robbed by the Charlotte keeper Cody Mizell.

Just before the half ended, Jordan Dover made a spectacular move down the sideline, got to the end line and put it on Francois’ foot, where he hit his shot right at Mizell.  Rochester ended the half up 7-1 in shots.

The Rhinos start the second half with a bang, scoring before most fans got back to their seats. Francois made a pacey run down the right side and put a tasty ball that found a wide-open Mike Garzi from the penalty spot. Garzi took his time, looked up, and placed it past the Charlotte keeper to double the advantage.

Rochester nearly made it three a couple minutes later as an errant pass landed at the feet of Darius Madison who had his saved opportunity fall to Beresford who shot it wide of the target.

Madison would get another chance and extend the Rhinos lead to 3 in the 52nd-minute. Francois made the most of a fantastic switch by Fall, beating his man with his second touch, got into the box and laid it to off to Madison. Madison had a bit of work to do before getting a shot off that looped over the Charlotte keeper via a heavy deflection to put the Rhinos up 3-0.

Francois completed his strong case for Man of the Match honors as he drew a penalty that Forbes put away to round out the scoring at 4-0. Francois ran at his man, got into the box and was clearly taken down by the Charlotte defender.

Tomas Gomez earned his second clean sheet of the season in the victory.

“Tomas had a pro performance tonight,” said Rhinos goalkeeping coach Brendan Murphy, “He didn’t switch off even at 3-0 and 4-0 and was extremely effective coming off his line.”

Coach Bob Lilley spoke very highly of the team after the match, “It’s a big game for us, it’s the best game we’ve played so far. I like that we played 90 minutes and were very consistent.  We were up 3 goals with 35 minutes to play, it could have easily been a game. The subs came in and did their job.”

The Rhinos move up to 2-1-2 (8 points) on the season, while Charlotte falls to 1-2-2 (5 points).