The New England Revolution took advantage of a depleted Rochester Rhinos squad that was completely unable to live up to their giant-killing status this time around, falling at home 5-1 to their official MLS affiliate in the Third Round.
The Rhinos’ squad was decimated by eight injuries and two call-ups to the New England Revolution. Interim head coach Pat Ercoli called up a number of local players to fill in gaps as the Rhinos prepared to face the Revolution Tuesday night in a match that was again delayed by lightning a week after their Second Round match against GPS Portland Phoenix was halted for over an hour at the end of halftime.
During most of the opening 15 minutes the two teams were dueling through the midfield. Both teams had chances but Kendell McFayden was off-balance when he shot from a through ball into the area and Chad Barrett shot well wide from 20 yards out.
McFayden and Mike Reidy showed explosive speed that the Revs’ defense couldn’t seem to deal with. The Rhinos speedsters were the architects of their own failure though, as the two players repeatedly had awful first touches. In the 23rd minute, Kelyn Rowe received a layoff from Barrett, who was playing a midfielder role, and hit a curling shot past a diving Brandon Miller’s outstretched right hand.
The match had been fairly even and continued to be for the rest of the first half. Tyler Rosenlund had one of Rochester’s best chances of the game in the 39th minute. After a solid period of pressure from the Rhinos, the ball came to the former Canadian youth international but his shot flew high and wide of the frame.
Seconds after Sahlen’s Stadium witnessed a flash of lightning, Andy Dorman scored for the Revolution. As Revs’ players jogged over to celebrate the goal, the center official blew his whistle for a weather delay. That delay lasted 52 minutes and the teams came out from the break very differently. The Rhinos seemed to cool off while the Revs came out with vigor. That energy translated into a quick goal by Jerry Bengston as he picked off a lazy back pass from Josh Faga towards Miller. The Honduran international made no mistake inside the area and put the Revs up 3-0.
Rowe picked up his second goal of the game and the Revs’ fourth in the 64th minute. Tyler Polak, who replaced an injured Imbongo, played Rowe into the channel down the left side. Rowe beat his defender to cut inside, and as Miller came off his line the Revs’ midfielder slotted the ball to the far post with the outside of his right foot.
McFayden pulled back a consolation goal for the Rhinos in the 77th minute. After receiving a pass from Rosenlund, the Buffalo native smacked his 25-yard shot off the inside of the post in the upper corner. McFayden produced a goal out of nothing with a spectacular shot, but it did little to affect the game.
Chad Barrett did his best to impress coach Jay Heaps in the 81st minute. A half-broken play from a Revolution corner kick, Darrius Barnes played a ball into traffic in the area and Barrett heel-flicked the ball over his head into the net.
McFayden, despite providing the spark for much of the match, did not see the final whistle. In second half stoppage time he was sent off for a reckless challenge on Gabe Latigue.
The most surprising change to the Rhinos’ lineup was coach Ercoli’s decision to leave 2012 USL Pro Goalkeeper of the Year Kristian Nicht on the bench in favor of second-year back-up Miller. Injuries forced Ross LaBauex and Faga, both midfielders, to split duties at right back. Lance Rozeboom is a defensive midfielder who slotted in at centerback due to injuries to both starting defenders. Last year’s Team MVP J.C. Banks is still not healthy enough following ACL surgery to start matches and loanee Latigue lined up for the Revolution, which pushed the Rhinos to start FC Buffalo midfielder Knapp on the left flank.
The Revolution featured many reserve-type players who don’t get significant minutes in MLS as several regular starters were not even on the bench. These players were fired up to impress Jay Heaps and his coaching staff, and in the second half reinforced their cases to him.
The result sees the Rhinos continue a disappointing 2013 season in which they have a 1-6-2 record in USL Pro. New England has been getting results through strong defensive performances and the five-goal glut against Rochester should translate well into offensive confidence in league play.
NE: Kelyn Rowe (Chad Barrett) 23
NE: Andy Dorman (Kelyn Rowe) 53
NE: Jerry Bengtson (unassisted) 54
NE: Kelyn Rowe (unassisted) 64
ROC: Kendell McFayden (Tyler Rosenlund) 77
NE: Chad Barrett (Darrius Barnes) 81
ROC: Ross LaBauex (caution) 43
NE: Jerry Bengtson (caution) 61
ROC: Kendell McFayden (ejection) 91+
Rochester Lineup: Brandon Miller; Ross LaBauex, Tyler Bellamy, Lance Rozeboom (Andrew Tiedt 77), Danny Earls; Mike Reidy, Josh Faga, Tyler Rosenlund, Brian Knapp (J.C. Banks 46); Blake Brettschneider (George Tor 65), Kendell McFayden
Substitutes Not Used: Kristian Nicht, Georgtos Kyriazis, Thomas McManus, Bilal Duckett
New England Lineup: Matt Reis; Darrius Barnes, Donnie Smith (Chris Tierney 52), A.J. Soares, Gabe Latigue; Kaliffa Cisse, Andy Dorman, Kelyn Rowe, Chad Barrett; Saer Sene (Jerry Bengtson 46), Dimitry Imbongo (Tyler Polak 33)
Substitutes Not Used: Luis Soffner, Andrew Farrell, Juan Toja
New England Stats: Shots 17, Shots on Target 9, Corner Kicks 5, Saves 3, Fouls 11, Offsides 3
Rochester Stats: Shots 8, Shots on Target 4, Corner Kicks 7, Saves 4, Fouls 8, Offsides 3