The rivalry between the Rochester (Raging) Rhinos and the Montreal Impact was one of the fiercest in modern American professional soccer. Fans both both sides have stories about travelling to away games, heckling opponents, and lending their voices during frequent clashes between the two sides. Though Montreal left USL 1 to join MLS, the Quebecois club decided to enter a professional reserve team in the re-branded USL ahead of the 2015 season.
That reserve team has a squad of 23 players on senior USL contracts and 3 players on USL academy contracts. FC Montreal consists largely of local players around the age of 20 who have played anywhere from one to five years within the club's academy system. The team published the list of full time players available the whole USL season last month.
FC Montreal has only played one game in USL so far, a 2-0 loss at home to Toronto FC II. A single MLS player featured on loan from Montreal Impact in that match. French defender Hassoun Camara played 90 minutes for FC Montreal against their Canadian rivals while serving a one-game suspension for the 61st minute red card he received against New England on March 21.
The New England Revolution's two players on loan with the Rhinos should be more integrated into the team after a full week of training. Tyler Rudy made his debut for Rochester coming off the bench late against Pittsburgh last week. Timi Mulgrew, a versatile attacker, could easily make his own debut up in Canada on Saturday.
Rochester's captain Tony Walls will look to lead the team against FC Montreal with coach Bob Lilley's trademark defensive organization. Over the first two games of the 2015 USL season, Rochester has shown well in defense but the team has only scored two goals. One of those goals, Dixon's against Pittsburgh, came in rather dubious circumstances as the Riverhounds expected the referee to call a foul in the build-up.
Perhaps the third time will be the charm for the Rhinos' attack as they try to take advantage of FC Montreal's young defense. Rochester and Montreal kick off at 2:30PM on Saturday and the match can be seen live on YouTube.