In part as a replacement for French forward Steve Pinau, who returned to Europe for personal reasons, Bob Lilley opened up his Rolodex and found attacking midfielder Levi Houapeu. The team isn't performing poorly, the Rhinos are currently on a 5-match unbeaten run, but the team hasn't scored more than 2 goals in any game so far this season and only have 6 goals total in 6 games.
Houapeu, 24, was initially drafted the Philadelphia Union as the 41st overall pick in 2011. The Germantown, Maryland-native made two appearances in the Reserve League that year before picking up a serious injury. Ahead of the 2012 MLS season, the Union cut Houapeu and he showed up in D.C. United's preseason training camp alongside Lance Rozeboom. Houapeu was a standout in the highly competitive DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) youth soccer scene and had played a season with D.C.'s USL Super-20 team in 2009 while also earning plaudits with the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Most recently, Houapeu has been playing with the Baltimore Blast of the Major Indoor Soccer League with former Rhinos Tony Donatelli (2011) and Max Ferdinand (2010-11) . In the 2013-14 season, Houapeu registered 11 points over 15 games as the Blast finished in first place during the MISL regular season.
Here is an old highlight video of Levi Houapeu's collegiate career.
Houapeu's story is fairly typical for a USL-Pro player. He was an explosive player at the collegiate level, he got a shot at MLS, he suffered a serious injury, and he's tried his hand at the indoor game. Based on this rough outline of his CV, I expect Houapeu to fit in at this level.
Do y'all think he can add something a team that already has Minh Vu, JC Banks, Tyler Rosenlund, Sam Petrone, Colin Rolfe, and Alex Dixon filling the attacking roles?
Rochester hosts league-leading Orlando City on Saturday night at 7:05PM from Sahlen's Stadium. The Rhinos opened their season on the road in Orlando just 5 weeks ago but have come together well as a team since then. Orlando plays in Pittsburgh against the Riverhounds on Friday night so hopefully the Rhinos can exploit some potential tired legs as they did against Charleston two weeks ago.