Thursday, May 9, 2013

USL Pro Spotlight Week 7: Where Have The Good Times Gone?

Article By: Pedro Gomes

Last week’s Spotlight focused on the two remaining undefeated teams in the league, the Richmond Kickers and the Charlotte Eagles. This week we will be focusing on a different type of “0” in the standings, the “0”under the wins columns. Currently there are three teams who have yet to record a win in the 2013 season, the Antigua Barracuda’s, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, and the Rochester Rhinos. Instead of talking about each of the club’s search for a win this season, this week’s Spotlight will focus on the tough season the Rhinos have encountered so far.

A quick peek at the league standings will show you that the Rhinos are sitting in second to last place with a lonely 1 point and a record of 0-5-1. But if you look a bit farther to right you will notice an interesting little fact. The Rhinos have played only 1 game at home so far and 5 games away. A little bit more analysis will show that 4 of those away games came in back to back matchdays. Meaning, they played a game on a Friday or a Saturday and then traveled again for a game the next day; a unique challenge teams in USL Pro face.

This becomes even more interesting when you juxtapose it with Orlando City’s schedule so far this season, who are leading the league with 16 points out of 7 games. Orlando City has yet to face a back to back match schedule and have had a fairly balanced home and away schedule with 4 games at home and only 3 games away. Even more interesting is that Orlando is undefeated at Home and has a very average 1-1-1 record away from home.

This isn’t to say that Rochester has been playing well so far and that the results just haven’t gone their way. They have an abysmal -13 goal differential on the season. This is something that needs to be addressed if they expect to get any results from here on out. It looks as though they may have begun to turn this around this past weekend as they put on a much better defensive display in their Home Opener against the Harrisburg City Islanders and only gave up 1 goal but they failed to score and ended up losing the match 1-0.

The goals will be even harder to come by from here on out as Forward, Matt Luzunaris, suffered a terrible leg break in the match against Harrisburg in a collision with the City Islanders goalkeeper on a goal scoring opportunity. Luzunaris finished last USL Pro season with 9 goals in 18 appearances for Orlando City and was brought in during the off-season to bolster the Rhinos attack. They will have to find another way to pick up the goals and add to their depressing 3 goal tally for the year.

To make matters worse the Rhinos will hit the road again this weekend and travel to Legion Stadium to take on the Wilmington Hamerheads. The good news is that the Hammerheads haven’t exactly gotten off to a great start either, currently just two spots ahead of Rochester in the standings and sitting on 3 points with a 1-3-0 record. Friday night will give the Rhinos a chance to jump a couple of spots in the standings and get some momentum if they manage to pull off a victory. It will definitely be a game to keep an eye on.

Upcoming USL Pro Schedule:
Thu, May 9, 2013
141
7:00 PM
at
Highmark Stadium
Fri, May 10, 2013
142
7:00 PM
at
Skyline Sports Complex
143
7:30 PM
at
Legion Stadium
Sat, May 11, 2013
144
7:00 PM
at
City Stadium
146
7:30 PM
at
Blackbaud Stadium
145
7:30 PM
at
Beavercreek High School
Sun, May 12, 2013
147
7:00 PM
at
Cheney Stadium
Tue, May 14, 2013
148
7:00 PM
at
Queens University Stadium

Listen here for an interview with Rochester Rhinos Head Coach, Jesse Myers, on Off The Bench

1 comment:

  1. It's unfortunate that saving money on travel is a huge priority for lower division leagues.

    That said, it seems Antigua Barracudas were never the same after ironically enough, the US v Antigua & Barbuda game last year.

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