06/15/2012 9:38 AM
The Rochester Rhinos return to Harrisburg to play the City Islanders for the second time this season on Friday, June 15th at 6PM in Skyline Sports Complex. The Rhinos entered their first match with the City Islanders with a 6-0-1 record in the USL PRO on May 25th. Harrisburg’s Morgan Langley finished a cross from Joseph Noone in the 48th minute, and Nick Noble made two saves on four shots to keep the clean sheet. The City Islanders 1:0 victory over Rochester gave the Rhinos their first loss of the season, and started them on a winless streak that has reached four matches in USL PRO play.
“We’ve had a bit of a dip over the past couple of weeks, but we’re in third place half way through the season.” Rhinos coach Jesse Myers said. “For us it’s about creating and finishing chances right now. I thought we did a better job of creating chances against Richmond and Wilmington, but we’ve got to find a way to put more of those chances into the back of the net.”
The Rhinos chances have been created, and in some cases finished, by their wingers JC Banks and Danny Earls. Banks started off the season with a point in six of Rochester’s first seven matches. He has two goals and four assists for eight points. He is second in the league in assists and tied for fifth in the league in points. Earls has one goal and two assists this season, and his two assists have both come in the Rhinos last four matches. The Rhinos midfield has scored six of the team’s ten goals this season.
“JC and Danny are both key players.” Myers said. “JC is a dangerous attacking player out wide who can create and finish chances on his own or create chances for others. Danny consistently has good service into the box and is a left footed threat for us on set pieces. Both of these guys have been providing more chances for us over the past two weeks.”
The Rochester Rhinos continue to have the best defensive record in USL PRO with six goals conceded in eleven league matches. Team captain Troy Roberts has anchored the back four playing every minute of every match this season. First year center back Georgios Kyriazis has settled in to partner Roberts in the back after Tyler Bellamy suffered a knee injury in the season opener. This is Kyriazis first year in American soccer after spending eight years in the Greek Super League and seven years in Italy’s Serie B.
“Troy and Georgie are forming a partnership as they play in their first season together.” Myers said. “George has been a professional since he was 16 years old and has seven or eight years of experience in Serie B. His experience gives him great insight and allows him to read the game. He’s also very good passing out of the back. Troy is a hard-nosed defender who’s good in the air, hard in the tackle, and makes key blocks when he is covering for his teammate. Together they are complementing each other well.”
The Harrisburg City Islanders enter the match in sixth place in the USL PRO table, but they have two matches in hand over fifth place Wilmington and fourth place Richmond. The City Islanders are only 2-2-2 at home in Skyline Stadium, but one of those two wins came against Rochester. Harrisburg is led by new signee Yann Ekra with his four goals. He did not start in the their first meeting with the Rhinos. Forward Sainey Touray and midfielder Jason Pelletier both lead the team with three assists, while midfielder Joseph Noone has two goals and two assists. The Rhinos have not won a regular season match in two previous trips to Skyline Sports Complex, but they did eliminate the City Islanders from the U.S. Open Cup in the second round last season. Harrisburg returned the favor by eliminating Rochester from the 2011 USL PRO playoffs in Sahlen’s Stadium last August.
“Last month was the first time I had been a part of a Harrisburg-Rochester match, but I watched the playoffs last season.” Myers said. “I’m not sure if I’d call it a full blown rivalry yet, but there’s definitely an intensity there between the players. They knocked Rochester out of the playoffs last year, and they wanted to be the first team to beat us this year. Now it’s up to us to take on the challenge and get three points on Friday night.
The Rochester Rhinos and Harrisburg City Islanders match will be available live on UNATION at www.uslnation.com at 6PM on Friday night.
The Rochester Rhinos next home match is on Saturday, June 30th at 7:30PM against the City Islanders. Tickets are available by calling 585.454.KICK, visiting rhinossoccer.com, or by visiting any Ticket Master Retail location.