Last weekend the Rhinos lost on the road to expansion-side Charlotte Independence. Before that game Rochester conceded just 6 goals in 19 games but shipped 4 goals to Charlotte in a half hour. With just 8 games left in the 2015 USL regular season, 6 of which are at home, Rochester will need a performance against Richmond to rebuild momentum going into the playoffs.
Speaking of playoffs, despite losing for the first time all season, the Rhinos are all but assured a playoff berth with 8 games left in the season. The website Sports Club Stats reports that Rochester has a 100% chance of making the postseason and a 95% chance of finishing as the number one seed. While I'm not as confident the team will rebound so quickly and get results in the final 8 games, a win against Richmond on Sunday would go far in that direction.
Rochester's opponent on Sunday, Richmond Kickers currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The team has a number of effective attacking weapons and has scored a whopping 10 goals in the previous 3 games.
Matthew Delicâte finished behind only league MVP Kevin Molino in the scoring charts last year. In 2015, his goal-scoring pace may have dropped off a bit but he still has 6 goals (2 of them game-winning tallies) to his name. Deli played 3 seasons for Rochester after coming through Richmond's professional development set-up and returned to the Kickers in 2009.
Other scoring threats for the visitors include Jason Yeisley and George Davis IV who have 9 and 6 goals respectively. Richmond's strong attacking form coming into Sunday's match will be a stuff test for Rochester's normally stingy defense. Rhinos head coach Bob Lilley undoubtedly stressed defensive organization during training this past week and it will be interesting to see how effective the Kickers can be against Rochester.
A win on Sunday would put Rochester at 46 points and open up distance between the Rhinos and second placed Louisville City FC, currently on 38. This will be the first of two match-ups against Richmond in 2015 with the return leg on September 5 in Virginia.
Sunday's game kicks off from Sahlen's Stadium at 5:05PM. You can watch the game, and every USL game, on YouTube.