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Rochester 1-2 LA Galaxy II: Rhinos Fall to Los Dos in Quarterfinals

Rochester Rhinos' 2014 season ends with a 2-1 loss at LA Galaxy II in the first round of the USL Pro playoffs.

JC Banks scored in the first half but the Rhinos lost 2-1
JC Banks scored in the first half but the Rhinos lost 2-1

The Rhinos would have had reason to fear the venue and the attacking options of their opponents on Saturday night. Instead of starting the game nervously, the team was focused and created chances in the opening five minutes.

After trading opportunities with the hosts in a confident start to the game, Rochester held its collective breath after starting goalkeeper John McCarthy appeared to injure himself. McCarthy raced out of his goalmouth to prevent the ball going out for a corner kick and while he did clear the ball for a throw-in on the far side, he also fell awkwardly on his left arm. USL Pro's best goalkeeper in 2014 (via goals against average) received treatment on that arm for a number of minutes while Revolution loanee Luis Soffner warmed up with goalkeeper coach Scott Vallow on the sidelines. Fortunately for McCarthy, he was able to continue in this game after a short break in play and made a few crucial stops on Saturday night.

The visitors struck first blood in this quarterfinal match-up. Kyle Hoffer played a ball out of the back that Tyler Rosenlund nodded to Alex Dixon. Dixon did tremendously well to side-foot a volley over the top and into the path of JC Banks. Streaking forward, Banks beat LA's offside trap and bore down one-on-one with goalkeeper Brian Perk. Instead of challenging for the ball, Perk actually back-pedals towards his line and Banks drills a shot over him and in off the underside of the bar.

Six minutes after the goal, Rochester's defense got sloppy. Onua Obasi got beat on the left side, allowing Dragan Stojkov to send a cross into the center. Charlie Rugg nodded the ball to the top of the box where Bradford Jamieson IV sweetly hit a volley. From pointblank range, McCarthy threw his hands up to make the save. On the rebound, Jaime Villarreal hit a shot that made contact with the arm of Tony Walls and the referee pointed to the spot. McCarthy made a save of Chandler Hoffman's penalty but the LA Galaxy forward tapped in his own rebound to tie the game for Los Dos.

After the goal, both teams settled into a rhythm to close out the first half. The start of the second half was equally uneventful until the hour mark. After Rochester gave the ball away, LA countered with the pace of Jamieson. The teenager burst up the Galaxy's left wing and played a ball into space for Hoffman. Hoffman drove forward before cutting in and curling a delectable ball into the path of Charlie Rugg inside the 6-yard box.

On the play, right back Pat McMahon was beaten early and Babacar Diallo hesitated to close down the man with the ball while Hoffer did a poor job of marking Rugg.

In the 65th minute right back Rafael Garcia received his second yellow card for a clear foul on Banks. Garcia earned a booking in the first half for running his mouth off at the center referee and got his marching orders after pulling back on the shirt of Rochester's star forward.

Despite playing over 20 minutes of regulation plus stoppage time with a man-advantage, the Rhinos couldn't find the equalizing goal. The team created a number of chances late in the game, including a dangerous free kick and a tricky shot from 18 yards by Obasi, but couldn't beat Perk a second time. LA Galaxy II's goalkeeper even made it easier for Rochester but coughing up a several juicy rebounds in the dying minutes of the game.

The 2-1 loss eliminated the Rhinos from the 2014 USL Pro playoffs. LA Galaxy II will travel to Sacramento to face off against the Republic next Saturday.