After Thursday night's 1-1 draw in Louisville, the Rhinos drive west on I-64 for Saturday night's game against Saint Louis FC. Rochester remains undefeated with a 2-0-2 record while Saint Louis has a split 1-1-1 record ahead of the clash.
Saint Louis is another expansion team in the USL and another market that has draw some degree of attention from Major League Soccer. StLFC is partnered with the Chicago Fire through the two leagues' affiliation and have sent a handful of players down for various stints already.
I talk to Ryan Voyles of Hot Time in Old Town to get to know Saint Louis FC before Saturday's USL match.<!-- ######## START READMORE SNIPPET ######## -->
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<!-- ######## END SNIPPET ######## --> Who is the obvious danger-man for Saint Louis FC and who is someone flying more under the radar but is still a key player for the team?
Do not be surprised to see StLFC players do what they can to get the ball to Jermie Lynch as often as possible. The Jamaican forward has the speed and decent touch that make him a handful near the box and has scored once in three matches. Aside from him, StLFC has found a steady force with defensive midfielder Brandon Barklage. The six-year MLS vet signed with his hometown club this winter and scored a header off a corner kick in Saint Louis's last match.
What are season expectations and how important is getting results at home in that success?
There's a lot of optimism that this club can be competitive and hang with the top teams in the USL during its inaugural season. The club is mostly made up of local players and veterans of USL, but officials think they can be a real player once players get more time developing chemistry.
The club may have more pressure than others in the USL when it comes to getting results at home. Aside from the three points for wins, St. Louis is attempting to rekindle a love of soccer in a city known for its impressive youth system and long history with the sport. Officials from Saint Louis and MLS Commissioner Don Garber have not made it a secret that they want a MLS club in the city, and winning at home would continue to keep up the rising excitement and interest for the sport.
How involved in the first team have loaned MLS players been and how do you see that projecting over the full year?
So far Patrick Doody has been the lone loaned player to see the pitch for any extensive amount of time. The Chicago Homegrown player and former captain of the Indiana University soccer team has started all three matches so far at left back, and has shown an ability to send some deadly crosses into the box. Has one assist on the year, but could have a few more with better finishes from his teammates.
Goalkeeper Alec Kann, who previously played for Charleston Battery and Charlotte Eagles, was loaned out just before the first match and has yet to play a minute, mostly due to the impressive early performance by St. Louis native Mark Pais. Defender Greg Cochrane, who started 21 matches the past two years with LA Galaxy and the Chicago Fire, was sent down late last week and put in a nondescript performance as a late substitute at right back during StLFC's match against Pittsburgh. He showed well during his 12 starts last year in Chicago, but was not going to get any playing time this season ahead of Jovein Jones. Cochrane should crack the starting XI for StLFC as early as this week.
Ryan added the following comment on the composition of the Saint Louis squad:
There have been rumors for awhile that at least one more of the Fire's youngsters will make the trip down to StL, but none have come to fruition. StLFC's GM said earlier this year that he wants the focal point of the squad to be their own players, with the loanees to be used as "help", so it is anyone's guess how the loanees are going to be used.