Two weeks back, fellow USL-Pro writer and all-around good guy Dan Conover wrote on CHSSoccer.net about each team's remaining schedule in the 2013 season. Here's what he wrote then about the Rhinos season:
O how the mighty have temporarily fallen.
Why isn’t Rochester better? I’m not entirely sure, but it’s pretty clear that the Rhinos have a defensive problem. Kristian Nicht covered it up nicely with two heroic performances in goal against Charleston, but you can’t do that every night.
The good news is Rochester’s schedule — the easiest in the league by my accounting — should be enough to pull the team out of the bottom spot among clubs not named "Barracuda."
Current: 17 points, 12th place
Remaining: 4 home, 3 away
PPM: 0.78 (11th)
Home factor: 0.97
Away factor: 0.58
Strength of schedule: 6.48
Opponent average: 0.926
Projected points: 8
Wilmington….. July 19….. 1.05….. 0.79
@Montreal….. July 21….. NA….. 1.00
Antigua….. July 28 ….. 0.00….. 0.10
Dayton….. Aug. 2….. 1.50….. 1.12
Pittsburgh….. Aug. 9….. 1.00….. 0.75
@Phoenix ….. Aug. 16*….. 0.67 ….. 0.84
@Los Angeles….. Aug. 17*….. 1.44….. 1.80
Projected finish: 25 points, 11th place.
Since Dan wrote that post, Rochester has played a pair of scoreless draws against Wilmington and in Montreal. The Rhinos are now sitting on 19 points after 21 games; there is still technically a chance. The team has 15 points left to play for but needs to figure out how to attack and defend in the same game. Rochester has only scored more than once in three games this season, which resulted in a victory against Antigua and draws against Charleston and LA.
Rochester should be able to brush aside Antigua, though that's what I thought about the match-up earlier in the season. Antigua has been a much more team after hiring former Puerto Rico Islanders head coach Adrian Whitbread.
Today's match against Antigua is the start of a three game home stand in which the team needs to get wins. Dayton and Pittsburgh are sitting on either side of the final playoff spot and have both easily defeated the Rhinos this year. Because the team ends the season with two games out west on back-to-back days, it is crucial to earn as many points as possible at home over the next three games.
A Rhinos loss today with a victory for VSI Tampa Bay FC at Richmond would eliminate the team from playoff contention for the 2013 USL-Pro season; luckily for us Richmond is undefeated.