07/13/2012 1:12 PM
The top two teams in the USL PRO table will square off Saturday when the first place Orlando City Lions host the second place Rochester Rhinos in the Florida Citrus Bowl at 7:30 PM. The Rhinos trail the Lions by eight points on the table, but will have the opportunity to narrow the margin to five with a win.
The Rhinos had their first goalless draw July 12 as they took on the fourth place Wilmington Hammerheads. Goalkeeper Kristian Nicht recorded his eighth clean sheet of the season, and now leads the USL PRO in shutouts. Wilmington is undefeated this season at home with a record of 6-0-3.
The USL honored Rhino Kendell McFayden as Player of the Week for week 14. McFayden scored two goals in his first start for the Rhinos. McFayden returned to the pros after playing in the PDL a season ago for the Kitsap Pumas, helping them to a 2011 title. Prior to the game on July 4th, the Rhinos had only scored 17 goals in 15 games. The Rhinos have outscored opponents 6-1 with McFayden in the lineup.
Rhino left winger JC Banks has established himself as one of the most dangerous offensive threats with his league leading eight assists. In his 2011 rookie season Banks finished with two goals and four assists for eight points in the USL PRO regular season. So far this season Banks has equaled his goals, and doubled his assists. Banks is having an MVP like season, and will look to continue to contribute in the last six games of the season.
Defender Chris Estridge made his debut against Wilmington, and will play in Saturday’s game against Orlando. In his first game, Estridge played 20 minutes at the left back position. Estridge is a rookie from Indiana University who had three goals and five assists coming out of the back last fall. He was an NSCAA All-American as a senior with the Hoosiers last fall. He was invited to the 2012 MLS Combine, and was rated as the top left back in the draft. He was selected by the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the second round before he was traded to Real Salt Lake in April.
The Lions are coming off consecutive wins against the Los Angeles Blues. The first win came on July 6th 1-0 with a first half goal from Defender Kieron Bernard. The Lions defeated the Blues 4-0 in their last game on Sunday, July 8 at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, California. Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo was named to the USL PRO Team of the Week for week 14 as he had two shutouts in taking six points in Los Angeles. Lion forward Dennis Chin is also coming off a USL PRO Team of the Week honor after scoring a pair of goals that led to a 4-0 win against the Blues on Sunday.
The Lions loaned forward Max Griffin to the Los Angeles Blues in exchange for George Davis IV Tuesday. Last year, Griffin was Orlando’s leading scorer. However injuries have limited his playing time to just 365 minutes over eight games. Griffin, a Los Angeles native, is expected to replace Bright Dike who was recalled by Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers last week. Dike was the leading scorer for the blues with six goals on the season.
The Rhinos Saturday night match with Orlando City can be seen live on UNATION at uslnation.com beginning at 7:30PM.
Rochester’s next home match will be on Saturday, July 21st in Sahlen’s Stadium at 7PM against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Tickets are on sale by calling 585-454-KICK, by visiting rhinossoccer.com, or by visiting any Ticket Master Retail location.