This emphatic win was somewhat blemished by the odd limbo most MLS reserves teams inhabit in this transition season for the MLS-USL Pro partnership. The Rhinos only had two wins by a multiple goal margin going into Friday night, a home game against Dayton and a contest at the Chicago Fire Reserves. Though the game against FC Dallas Reserves was not as much of an insult to the competitive integrity as that farce in Chicago back in April, Dallas only brought two field substitutes.
FC Dallas Reserves:
Jesse Gonzalez; Cesar Murillo (82'), Nicholas Walker, Walker Zimmerman, Kris Reaves (89'); Michel, Ryan Hollingshead, Brian "Cobi" Span, Jonathan Top; Danny Garcia, David Texeira
Subs: Charlie Furrer, Patrick Khouri (82'), Jordan Cano (89')
John McCarthy; Pat McMahon, Babacar Diallo, Kyle Hoffer, Tony Walls; Tyler Rosenlund, Johnny Mendoza (67'), Alec Sundly, Alex Dixon (70'), JC Banks (86'), Colin Rolfe (76')
Subs: Luis Soffner, Jossimar Sanchez, Pat Slogic (4'), Onua Obasi, Lance Rozeboom (70'), Matt Luzunaris (76'), Levi Houapeu (67')
Chicago's coaching staff elected to play a man down for 20 minutes despite having available players on the bench against the Rhinos earlier in the season. While FC Dallas Reserve coach Marco Feruzzi decided to play with a full 11 players on the field, 5 players from the club's USSDA u17/18 squad and 2 players that are on loan at other USL Pro clubs. Charlie Furrer, an unused goalkeeper, and Patrick Khouri were born after the Rhinos began playing in the old A-League.
Even with Brazilian midfielder Michel, FC Dallas Reserves team only had 23 MLS starts this season combined. The lack of chemistry in Dallas's hodge-podge collection of players was quickly apparent as Rochester established a good passing rhythm early. Banks and Dixon interchanged positions and Mendoza made dangerous forward runs out of midfield. On the home team's breakthrough, however, Mendoza played a ball in for Rosenlund in an advanced position and the former Canadian international was able to cut a low cross into the center of the box.
Colin Rolfe curled a run onto Rosenlund's low service but his shot was saved well by Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez. JC Banks picked up the rebound and shifted the ball from his right to left foot before dispatching his shot to the far post in the 21st minute.
In the 30th minute, Ryan Hollingshead slid Dixon after the speedy forward burned past him. Alex Sundly served the ensuing free kick into the area from the left wing towards Babacar Diallo. The towering centerback was able to nod his header into the path of Colin Rolfe who had peeled off into acres of space. After seeing his earlier point blank shot blocked by Gonzalez, Rolfe made no mistake and buried his opportunity.
You can almost see the weight lifted off Rolfe after he bagged his first goal in USL Pro play and gave Rochester a two-goal advantage in the 31st.
Dallas's only chances of the first half came on corner kicks from the foot of Michel but John McCarthy dealt with them easily enough. At the hour mark of the game, FC Dallas Reserves had a decent opportunity when Cobi Span split Rochester's defense and chipped McCarthy but couldn't beat the woodwork. Just five minutes later rookie goalkeeper John McCarthy pulled out a double dave in case any MLS scouts were paying attention.
Two players better known for breaking up opposition plays combined well in the final third to underline Rochester's superiority on the night. Lance "Sunshine" Rozeboom played a great through ball to his midfield partner Alec Sundly for the Revolution loanee's first career professional goal.
Without hyperbolizing the impact of this result, as soon as Rochester got a full week's rest between games the team earned a 3-0 result. While the opposition was not as organized or experienced as it could have been, Bob Lilley sent his team out to play their game.
Rochester's opponents for the rest of this month, Wilmington and Orlando, will provide more resistance than the makeshift Dallas squad that showed up at Sahlen's Stadium on Friday. That said, this win has given a number of players (not least of all hard-working forward Colin Rolfe) a significant morale boost that will carry over into the upcoming matches.