All the way from Cape Verde, target forward Steevan Humberto Fortes Dos Santos (also known as Duba) connected a meaty header from a Kenardo Forbes cross in the second minute added on. Toronto players, most notably Mo Babouli, wasted a significant amount of time late in the match trying to hold onto the 0-0 draw and may have created the time for Duba to power home his first goal for the Rhinos.
The game between Great Lakes rivals on Saturday night was chippy almost from the outset. Technically-skilled forward Christian Volesky received a less-than-pleasant forearm to his face from Toronto central defender Skylar Thomas in the 10th minute.
The first half was largely a midfield battle of attrition but a battle that Rochester was winning. Even though the Rhinos controlled much of the possession for vast stretches in the game, the home side wasn't able to force former Syracuse University goalkeeper Alex Bono into a single save before the weather delay.
In the 40th minute the fourth official and the referee's assistant on the near side signaled to the center referee that there were lightning strikes. As the official blew his whistle, players from both teams trotted into the locker rooms and fans ducked for cover underneath the bleachers.
After about a 70 minute delay, during which a steady downpour coated the facility in water, the team resumed play for the final five minutes of the first half. Rochester head coach Bob Lilley definitely used that interval to better effect than his counterpart from Toronto, Jason Bent.
In the 42nd minute, Colin Rolfe received a ball played over the top from Rochester's midfield and sized up the on-rushing Alex Bono. Rolfe tried to chip his shot over the goalkeeper from within 20 yards but Bono was able to slap a paw on the ball and Kenardo Forbes's follow-up shot sailed over the frame.
In just the next minute, Rolfe slalomed through Toronto's defense and hit a shot to the near post. In the process, the industrious forward beat a handful of hapless defenders but again Bono bailed his team out by diving to his right and smothering the attempt. In a third save before halftime, Bono caught Johnny Mendoza's left-footed shot from the top of the 18-yard-box in first half stoppage time.
The match officials decided to observe a truncated three minute halftime break after such a considerable delay for weather conditions just a few minutes earlier. After the teams resumed, Toronto grew into the game more and more.
Jordan Hamilton, though a talented player and a proven goal-scorer at this level, was unable to leave his mark on this game except perhaps in a tally of half-hearted penalty appeals. Hamilton appeared phased by the physical nature of Rochester's defending and was by no means unique in this situation.
His replacement, Edwin Rivas, fashioned the best chance for the visitors in the 73rd minute. With his back to goal, Rivas turned on Vasillis Apostolopoulos and sent a shot across Rochester's goal from close range. In a valiant effort to keep his clean sheet intact and the game knotted up, Brandon Miller threw his right hand out and pushed the shot out for a corner kick.
Fellow Toronto forward Molham Babouli could have used that type of composure when he took exception to a fair shoulder-to-shoulder challenge from Tony Walls and a clearance from Onua Obasi at the end of the second half. Babouli petulantly struck out at Walls and hit him with his studs from behind in full view of the referee. The official duly showed the 22-year-old a yellow card in the 90th minute.
Just seconds later, the referee whistled Rivas for a foul on Walls. While the ball was rolling by him, Babouli decided to blast a shot towards Miller's goal while Walls was getting up. In a spat of déjà vu, David Mon showed Babouli a yellow card before giving the forward his packing orders.
Instead of accepting his well-earned dismissal, Babouli decided to walk slowly, stop walking, and take his shinguards off on the field. All of this childish behavior from the Toronto FC II player accrued the time in which Rochester pushed on to find the game-winner.
With time winding down and the match still scoreless, Toronto appeared content to pack in tight defensively and send long balls off the slick surface for its forwards to chase. To counter this defensive organization, Bob Lilley introduced Duba up top and pushed Walls into the central attacking midfield role behind him. This tactical change had limited success in the final 15 minutes of regulation but ultimately bore fruit in added time.
Kenardo Forbes received a pass from right back Pat McMahon in the channel. The Jamaican winger took one touch to settle the ball and drove a cross into the center of the area as Mark-Anthony Kaye was slow to close him down. Rochester's favorite Cabo Verdean forward towered over Skylar Thomas at the penalty mark and snapped his header down to the far post.
Despite earning plaudits as the best goalkeeper in the NCAA in 2014, Bono could not get down quick enough to prevent Duba's powerful header from crossing the line and giving Rochester the win in stoppage time.
After the game Duba was ecstatic about scoring his first goal, and scoring in front of Rochester's faithful fans, but told me that he's always "trying to do the best for the team" and that the "best thing is to help the team win games." Winning games is actually what the big striker did with his clinical header in stoppage time.
The Rhinos next play in Wilmington on Saturday, May 16.