What a relief!
Revolution forward on loan Matt Horth scored in the 79th minute leading the Rochester Rhinos to the team's first victory of the season.
Goalkeeper Kristian Nicht earned his shutout Friday night with 3 saves. You can also credit him with throwing off Cody Arnoux on Wilmington's penalty kick 20 minutes into the game. Nicht also did well to come off his line quickly to gobble up long balls.
The central defense partnership of Roberts and Kyriazis looked shaky at times but got the job done. Kyriazis was whistled for a handball early, but Wilmington could not take advantage. Bilal Duckett reclaimed his place in the starting XI after sitting out last week's match with a knock on his foot. He played well, as did Danny Earls on the left side.
With Michael Tanke out, Lance Rozeboom picked up defensive midfield responsibilities. Gabe Latigue has fallen out of the lineup as head coach Jesse Myers has been impressed with Mike Reidy's tireless work rate. Reidy lined up on the left side while Ross LaBauex played on the right. Tyler Rosenlund tried to spark Rochester's attack from central midfield.
Tam McManus slotted in behind center forward Matt Horth. Horth got the chance to fill the shoes of injured Matt Luzunaris who suffered a broken leg against Harrisburg last week.
Whether with unjust red cards or season ending injuries, the Rochester Rhinos have been very unlucky this season. That luck seemed to change on Friday as they defeated a Wilmington side that out-shot them 13-5. Despite the handful of quality chances, the Hammerheads lacked the bite they showed last year.
Wilmington reached the 2012 USL-Pro Championship match but had lost three straight games going into Friday. The Hammerheads sole win of the 2013 season came against league punching bag Antigua Barracuda FC.
The opening minutes of the first half saw both teams shoot just wide before Kyriazis committed a handball in the area. Arnoux took a corner kick which Gareth Evans was able to direct toward the crossbar for Wilmington. The decisive moment of the game came when Mike Reidy passed the ball to Matt Horth just outside of the area. The Revs loanee turned with the ball and put a hard low shot in the corner past a diving Phil Tuttle.
Friday's result puts the Rhinos at 1-5-1 and Hammerheads at 1-4-0. A 1-0 win isn't the most convincing scoreline, but it does show incremental improvement over a team that lost by at least 3 goals on three occasions so far this year.
Neither Gabe Latigue nor Tyler Polak featured in this game.