The opposite view for the Union's opening clash in the U.S. Open Cup comes from Brendan Doherty, the Rochester Rhinos correspondent for Reckless Challenge. We asked him three questions about the Union's opponent and what to watch out for.
Brotherly Game: The Rhinos defense has been nothing short of sensational this season. They are allowing just 5.4 shots per game and have allowed just four goals in 12 games. How are they making that happen?
Brendan Doherty: Rochester's head coach Bob Lilley has a reputation for organized defense but this year perhaps more than any other he's been able to bring his game plan to life. Lilley stresses "team defending" to his players. A forward coming back to pressure an opponent in the middle of the field is just as important as a goal-line clearance. There's a real sense of teamwork in every clean sheet the Rhinos earn this year.
BG: Offensively the Rhinos have gotten 11 of their 16 goals from three players: Christian Volesky, Steevan Dos Santos and Alex Dixon. Only Voleskey has been a consistent starter, however. What lineup can we expect related to the main scoring threats and how do the Rhinos use those players?
BD: Rochester's most in-form forward is Duba (Steevan Humberto Fortes dos Santos). On Saturday he scored his fourth goal in five league games. Fortunately for Union he is suspended for the cup match. Alex Dixon played his first minutes since early May on Saturday against Louisville. He was red hot to start the season but may not be ready for Tuesday. Volesky has shown bits of brilliance against decidedly lesser opponents like FC Montreal but will likely feature, perhaps off the bench, against Philadelphia. The number one option for Tuesday is Colin Rolfe, who Lilley rested over the weekend. He's an industrious forward who epitomizes the coach's work ethic. Also look for Asani Samuels to make an impact after scoring twice and assisting his countryman Kenardo Forbes in the last round.
BG: There are 12 USL teams playing MLS teams in U.S. Open Cup play this week. Of all the USL teams do you think the Rhinos have the best shot to advance?
BD: Rochester is a team ostensibly set up to absorb pressure and spring with quick counters. In USL though, they've outshot opponents by a considerable margin. They could very easily catch the Union on a break and then bunker for an hour. While the competition level isn't the same between MLS and USL, the Rhinos aren't number one in the standings on accident. They would have a great chance against any MLS side in the U.S. Open Cup this year.
BG's last word: It's good to see Dos Santos is suspended for the match. That considerable restricts their firepower. The Rhinos will be a very tough defense for the Union offense to crack especially if they are sitting deep. Will the Union be able to crack the defense or will the Rhinos be able to catch the Union on the break? That's the big question yet to be answered for this match.