Goalkeeper Brandon Miller, right back Pat McMahon, and winger/forward Alex Dixon were all Rhinos' players for multiple seasons but they will be moving away from Rochester for the 2016 season. While these players will not be returning to defend their USL title, they have found homes with potential on USL and NASL teams.
Miller joined the Rhinos back in 2012 after graduating from UNC Wilmington. In his first two seasons, the North Carolina native backed up 2012 USL Goalkeeper of the Year Kristian Nicht. During the 2014 season there were stretches when Miller did not make the bench behind 2014 Goalkeeper of the Year John McCarthy and Revolution loanee Luis Soffner.
In 2015, however, Miller burst into the league spotlight and showed none of the rust you might expect from a three-year backup. His fourth season with the Rhinos would be a career year for Miller, notching a save percentage of .807, a goals against average of 0.54 (conceding just 11 goals all year), and earning a record-breaking 13 shutouts in just 21 games.
As Alicia wrote on TheGoatParade on Monday, this signing marks a bold step forward for OC Blues FC. The Blues finished first in the Western Conference in 2015 and Miller will undoubtedly bolster the team's defense as it looks to retain that title in 2016.
Alex Dixon, 25, joined the Rhinos ahead of the 2014 season after three seasons as a homegrown forward with Houston Dynamo. He started the 2015 campaign red-hot, scoring three times in Rochester's first six games. Dixon finished the year by adding two assists to his early goal haul. While his scoring touch certainly dried up, Dixon was instrumental in drawing fouls and opening space for his strike partner Steevan Humberto Fortes "Duba" dos Santos down the stretch.
On December 16, NASL-side Jacksonville Armada FC announced the capture of Dixon for their second campaign. Armada FC head coach Tony Meola described Dixon as a depth signing so he won't be a guaranteed starter but it gives him the chance to play in the league again after a short, but successful loan stint from Houston with Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2013.
Starting right back Pat McMahon decided to leave the Rhinos after two successful seasons. McMahon played 2044 minutes in 2014, playing 27 games and starting 23 times. In the 2015 season, the fullback put up even more impressive consistency, playing 2151 minutes across across 24 starts and a substitute appearance.
While McMahon did not register a single goal or assist in USL play for the Rhinos, he will be a fundamental building block for the defense of USL expansion team FC Cincinnati. The Ohio club announced McMahon as one of eleven founding players on December 7.
As FC Cincinnati is a flashy new team that splashed cash to hire John Harkes as its inaugural head coach, it's not a stretch to assume the team would also offer considerable salaries to USL veterans like McMahon. Unlike Miller and Dixon, Rochester will run up against McMahon Cincinnati multiple times in the USL regular season in 2016.
23 players featured for Rochester in USL in 2015. Two players, Tyler Rudy and Timi Mulgrew, left the team after finishing their loans from New England. The Rhinos announced 10 returners for the upcoming campaign on December 10: Steevan Humberto Fortes "Duba" dos Santos, Christian Volesky, Asani Samuels, Tony Walls, Kenardo Forbes, Marcos Ugarte, Grant Van de Casteele, Vassilis Apostolopoulos, Sean Totsch, and Adam Grinwis.
With these three players leaving the team, eight players remain in limbo at this time: Onua Obasi, Drew Ruggles, Julian Ringhof, Christian Silva, Mike Garzi, Johnny Mendoza, Nate Bourdeau, and Colin Rolfe. Some of these players might still reach terms with the Rhinos for a new contract, they might also be the subjects of similar articles in next two months.