The Rochester Rhinos are no strangers when it comes to competing against MLS clubs in U.S. Open Cup play. Their 1999 USOC title win over the Colorado Rapids is an accomplishment that still remains sweet and special within the Rochester soccer community. The Rhinos are still the only non-Major League Soccer club to win the Cup since the inception of MLS in 1996.
On Tuesday May 29th the Rhinos make their way to PPL Park in Chester, PA to engage in a 3rd round USOC match with the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. Fresh off back to back USLPRO matches on Friday and Saturday with Harrisburg City (L 0-1) and the Dayton Dutch Lions, (D 1-1) the Rhinos have little time to prepare for what could be a massive reward.
Last Tuesday the Rhinos defeated The Brooklyn Italians (NPSL) 3-0 at Sahlen's Stadium in 2nd round action in what could be considered a professional win with Tam McManus, Connor Chinn and JC Banks finding net for Rochester. Look for the 31 year-old Scottish born midfielder Tam McManus to make a big impact On Tuesday for Rochester. As a former footballer for Ayr United (D2 Scotland), Tam has found his form in recent weeks for Rochester. If the Rhinos are to go through, expect Tam to play a big part. Look for rock solid defending led by captain Troy Roberts and key midfielders Danny Earls, Drew Cost and JC Banks to factor in our success. The big man and dominator in the pipes Kristian Nicht was given the night off on Saturday vs. Dayton so expect him to be ready to go on Tuesday.
Philadelphia meanwhile fell to Toronto FC in MLS league play on Saturday 1-0. Although winless in their last 5 matches, the young Philly side will prove to be a challenge for Rochester. Gabriel Gomez, Lionard Pajoy, Freddy Adu and Danny Mwanga lead the way for the Union. Former Rochester Rhinos GK Chase Harrison although currently injured and listed as 3rd string is finding his way with Philly.
First kick will take place at 7:30 p.m. tonight and I expect the Rhinos to be there at the end. Rochester pride themselves year after year on this tournament and first year Head Coach Jesse Myers will take aim to bring the storied USLPRO club one step closer to a second U.S. Open Cup trophy.