Photo courtesy Matt Wittmeyer / Rochester Rhinos
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Rochester Rhinos and Pittsburgh Riverhounds played to a 0-0 draw at Capelli Sport Stadium on Saturday night. Both teams had little in the way of attack early, with Chevy Walsh’s well-hit shot wide for the Riverhounds (5-7-7, 22pts) and Jochen Graf’s tight-angle shot for the Rhinos (6-3-8, 26pts) the only real threats in the opening 25 minutes. Riverhounds fullback Taylor Washington forced a near-post save from Rhinos goalkeeper Tomas Gomez after a good give-and-go put him into the left side of the penalty area, but the game went to the break scoreless. Kay Banjo had a good chance for the Riverhounds early in the second half, only to be denied by Gomez, while Rhinos playmaker Kenardo Forbes forced a low save by Riverhounds goalkeeper Trey Mitchell with 20 minutes to go. The Rhinos got on top late, and a late volley by Brandon Beresford went just high from 12 yards in the 90th minute, and Romeo Parks came right back for the Riverhounds to force a diving save from Gomez. That would be the last clear chance, however, as honors ended even.
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Riverhounds worked effectively on the counterattack in the first half, outshooting their hosts 7-3, but the visitors were arguably more impressive in the second half when they began to dictate the rhythm of the game and pressure the attacking third consistently. As team have previously, however, the Riverhounds struggled to break through the defensive block at the top of the Rhinos’ penalty area that saw clear chances to break the deadlock few and far between. The performance will certainly provide optimism, but a third consecutive draw wasn’t the result the Hounds were looking for.
2. The Rhinos weren’t able to create much from open play in the opening 75 minutes, but were dangerous from set pieces as Kenardo Forbes tried to provide a telling delivery from one of the five corners the hosts were able to force. Already solidly inside the Eastern Conference’s top eight, the Rhinos won’t be too disappointed with picking up another point in their pursuit of a fourth consecutive berth in the USL Cup Playoffs, and even threatened late on to grab three points with some good play by Forbes and a low cross that flashed through the six-yard area by Jordan Dover that was maybe their best build-up of the match.
3. With three points hanging in the balance, the game suddenly sprang to life with about 10 minutes ago as both teams threw more caution to the wind in pursuit of the win. The Rhinos, in particular, were far more sprightly in the attacking half. Dover’s low cross through the penalty area was followed by a tremendous volley by Brandon Beresford that almost picked out the top-right corner. The Riverhounds, in greater need of a win, also had chances, and Romeo Parkes will likely rue not pulling the trigger sooner when he was put through in the 86th minute. Parkes almost provided a grandstand finish four minutes later, but Gomez was equal to his effort from 25 yards as the late surge for both sides came up empty.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Tomas Gomez, Rochester Rhinos – Gomez came up with a four-save shutout, including a couple of good denials in the second half, to earn his side a point at home.
Rochester Rhinos vs. Toronto FC II – July 26, 7:05 p.m. ET, Capelli Sport Stadium
Pittsburgh Riverhounds vs. Charleston Battery – July 26, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium