03/19/2012 10:00 AM
Rhinos First Eleven
Goalkeeper – Joe Marino
Marino returns to the roster for his second season with the Rhinos after being the third-string goalkeeper on last year’s team. He made a huge breakaway save on Jamaican international Dwayne Smith to prove his mettle as a goalkeeper at this level. He also couldn’t be faulted for the goal that Smith ended up finishing.
Left Back – Jack Traynor
Traynor played for the USL PRO Champion Orlando City Lions last season and made his preseason debut with the Rhinos against the Riverhounds. Traynor was solid at left back for the first hour of the match and then seamlessly slid into the centre back role for the last half hour. One of only four Rhinos to play all ninety minutes, quality and versatility are the first impression that Traynor left after his debut.
Centre Back – George Kyliazis
The big Greek centre back’s height was a tremendous asset for the Rhinos. George’s ability to win the air helped the Rhinos effectively deal with Pittsburgh’s long throw ins into the penalty box as well as their set pieces and corner kicks. A little communication error between Bellamy and George led to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds goal, but mistakes of that nature are to be expected four days into training camp.
Center Back – Tyler Bellamy
Bellamy turned in the solid, workmanlike performance that Rhinos fans have come to expect from him since he joined the team in 2010. Bellamy is a proven defender in the USL PRO and joined Traynor as one of four Rhinos to go ninety minutes.
Right Back – Michael Tanke
Rhinos fans will remember Tanke as a hardworking, tenacious midfielder, but Tanke played a half at right back against Pittsburgh. Tanke used his experience as a midfielder to get forward and attack out of the back. With some experience Tanke may be able to increase his versatility by being able to play in the back as well as the midfield.
Centre Midfield – Gustavo Zamudio
The Chilean central midfielder showed his ability to serve a free kick when he whipped a ball into the box from forty yards out that sailed just over Graciano Brito’s head. Zamudio showed some glimpses of the ability that he possesses, but the match in Pittsburgh was an important introduction to the style of play in the USL PRO. The Rhinos currently only have four midfielders listed on their 2012 roster, and Zamudio looks like he might be a great addition to the club.
Centre Midfield – Drew Cost
Cost has a year of experience in the USL PRO under his belt after his 2011 campaign with the Rochester Rhinos. Cost is a proven midfielder at this level and used the hour that he played against Pittsburgh to develop a relationship with a new group of teammates around him. The experience he gained in his first preseason match should be just what he needs to jump start him back into form.
Attacking Midfield – Conor Chinn
Chinn started off on the right wing but slipped into the hole after the first ten or fifteen minutes. Chinn, playing in his first match as a Rhino, created three or four quality chances and was unlucky not to be able to finish one of them.
Left Winger – Danny Earls
Earls is back in the Rhinos training camp after staring for the team as a youngster back in 2007 and 2008. Earls was a dangerous presence on the left wing for the first hour of the match. He was responsible for creating most of the dangerous moments that the Rhinos had in the match. After Rhinos head coach Jesse Myers made his changes in the sixtieth minute Earls showed his versatility when he slipped into the centre midfield role. Earls played all ninety minutes for the Rhinos and looks like he might be another option in the Rhinos midfield this season.
Right Wing – Pedro Rivas
Pedro, son of Rochester Rhinos 1996 team MVP Rene Rivas, started the match in the hole and then slipped out to the right wing after he switched positions with Chinn. Pedro is a very technical player who got on the end of an Earls cross in the first half and set-up Chinn after a nifty pass in the second half.
Target – Graciano Brito
The FC New York veteran displayed the pace to get behind the defense, the height to be a target on crosses and set pieces, and the strength to hold off defenders when he is back to pressure. Brito and the rest of the Rhinos attack were playing after only four days of training camp. They were also trying to incorporate five new attacking personalities for the first time in a match. It might not have always looked exactly the way Rhinos head coach Jesse Myers wanted it to, but the potential in Brito is evident. Look for the Rhinos attack to gel and become more efficient as the preseason progresses.
Goalkeeper – Brandon Miller
The rookie from UNC-Wilmington played his first forty-five minutes as a professional. Miller is a great athlete who showed his potential as a shot stopper in his first appearance with the club.
Right Back – Mac Hemei
Mac came on at right back for Michael Tanke at halftime and logged his first minutes as a professional in Pittsburgh. Rhinos head coach Jesse Myers and assistant coach Billy Sedgewick discovered Hemei at their invitational combine at Sahlen’s Sports Park back in February. They like Hemei’s work ethic and versatility, believing that he can play in a number of different positions for the club.
Front Runner – Kendall McFayden
McFayden is another player in training camp who came out of the Rhinos invitational combine at Sahlen’s. McFayden definitely displayed the pace and athletic ability to play in the USL PRO in his thirty minutes in Pittsburgh.
Right Wing – Gary Boughton
The Medaille College graduate, FC New York veteran, and Rochester Lancer played thirty minutes for the Rhinos in Pittsburgh. He created some quality width on the right flank for the Rhinos. He also had the rebound on Chinn’s chance in the seventy-first minute fall to him. Boughton did his job by putting the shot on goal, but a Pittsburgh defender was able to scramble it away.