Rochester's 4th of July game in Dayton was not streamed on USLNation and was not really covered on Twitter by either team. Despite the joy of taking the lead in Dayton, the Rhinos finished the afternoon with a 3-1 defeat.
Rochester took the lead in the first half and Gabe Latigue was particularly active with crosses and a shot that hit the woodwork. Latigue played through Blake Brettschneider in the 38th minute. Eli Garner grabbed an equalizer before halftime for Dayton and in the second half, Rochester showed its almost signature defensive frailty. Tjeerd Wedsijke scored in the 64th minute which was Gibson Bardsley's second assist of the match for Dayton. Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht left the game with an injury after 72 minutes and back-up Brandon Miller conceded Dayton's third goal in the 81st minute as Bardsley finally tucked one home for himself.
Danny Earls didn't make the trip to Dayton on Thursday which allowed Tyler Polak to start at left back. Polak was joined in defense by Bilal Duckett while Latigue started opposite JC Banks. Forward Matt Horth featured off the bench for 32 minutes and got one shot off after replacing Tam McManus.
Danny Earls did not dress for Saturday's game at home against Charlotte Eagles either. Tyler Polak again started in defense, but Bilal Duckett made way for Lucas Fernandez who returned from suspension. Matt Horth got the start up top with Brett Blakeschneider while Gabe Latigue started in midfield with Mike Reidy.
Just after the half hour mark at Sahlen's Stadium, Charlotte took the lead on a defensive lapse by Rochester. Eagles' midfield Paul Islas slid in from a wide position without being picked up by defenders and was able to collect a chipped ball before firing past Kristian Nicht.
The Rhinos' color commentary for home matches, former player Mike Kirmse, best summed up anyone's argument in favor of Mike Reidy this season. A few minutes before halftime he said, "Regardless of whether it's good contact, Reidy is being active and getting involved." The point simply has been that Reidy does not get good contact and rarely cleanly beats a defender in front of him. Reidy is a scrappy player whose determination on plays sometimes prevails over his opponent's positioning and skills.
Horth had a reasonable penalty shout at the end of the first half after receiving a good deal of contact in the area from Charlotte's Evan Harding. Center referee David Mon, who is one of about 3 referees who usually officiate Rochester home games, signaled to play on as Horth looked up from the ground.
At halftime, both Latigue and Horth made way for JC Banks and Tam McManus respectively. This double switch seemed more hopeful than a sign of intentional planning on the part of Rhinos' head coach Pat Ercoli.
Reidy continued to excite fans with his speed while disappointing his teammates with the end result. On one play, the Rochester native split two defenders on the left side of the 18 yard box but actually sprinted past the ball and couldn't get on the end of his own dribble. In another instance, Reidy embarrassed fullback Harding but with time on the ball played in awful low service that didn't clear the first defender.
When Tam McManus played a dangerous free kick into the area, central defender George Kyriazis put his glancing header just over the frame. Bilal Duckett replaced Fernandez at right back to provide more impetus going forward at the hour mark.
Kyriazis liked McManus's service so well that he decided to return the favor a few minutes later. Reading the play remarkably, the veteran Greek defender intercepted a pass and rushed up field on a counter attack. Once he reached 20 yards from the endline, Kyriazis crossed from the right side towards McManus who was streaking down the center. Rather than redirecting the ball on goal with his instep on the first touch, McManus took a heavy touch to try to set up a shot on his second. Unfortunately, the Scotsman's clumsy touch pushed the ball too far towards goalkeeper Eric Reed.
Jorge Herrera's 74th minute goal came in exactly the same fashion as Paul Islas's 33rd minute goal for Charlotte.
Tyler Polak wasn't marking his man who ran into the 18 alone. Commentary-man Kirmse blamed Lance Rozeboom for not closing down Drew Yates, the Charlotte player who carried the ball forward and played Herrera through. Yates drove up the Rhinos' defensive right side from half field and several players could have stepped up to the Charlotte midfielder. Polak and the two central defenders, Troy Roberts and Tyler Bellamy (Kyriazis left injured), did not pay attention to Herrera's run from the defensive left side of the field into the area, which allowed him to easily poke the ball past Kristian Nicht to double Charlotte's lead.
For his part, Nicht made several keys saves before and after Charlotte's second goal. In the 80th minute the big German made a diving save on a shot by Islas from the edge of the area.
In the 84th minute, Andrew Hoxie scores to reduce Rochester's deficit. McManus plays a simple ball to Hoxie's feet and the Big Smooth somehow evades two defenders who were marking him to cut towards goal on his right foot. Hoxie looked like he was going to shoot to the far post but curled his shot in at the near post past a befuddled Reed.
JC Banks took a long throw from the right side of the field in the dying seconds of regulation. Banks directed his throw towards the near post where Hoxie rose up to flick on to the far post. McManus could not have missed as he received the ball inches from the goal with no pressure on him. The scrappy Scottish forward leveled the score at two goals apiece with his fourth strike of the season.
During stoppage time, the team had another long throw which bounced around inside the area and was half cleared to McManus whose shot from 19 yards dribbled to Reed in the Charlotte net.
Rochester played a hard-fought final ten minutes but lacked even a fraction of that intensity throughout the preceding 80 minutes. This match is the second time McManus scored a late equalizer at home this season as he notched an 88th minute goal against LA Blues on May 31st.