A month after beating the City Islanders in Round Three of the U.S. Open Cup, Rochester faces them in USL player in Harrisburg on Friday. The City Islanders undoubtedly watched Rochester's Tuesday night cup match against its long-time affiliate Philadelphia Union with former loanees Richie Marquez, Zach Pfeffer, Jimmy McLaughlin, and Eric Ayuk seeing action.
Rochester will try to shake off its first setback of the season in all competitions. Technically the team is 10-0-5 overall in 2015 with Tuesday's shoot-out loss officially credited as a draw. Despite that minor consolation, the Rhinos will be raring to go on Friday night on the Susquehanna River.
Red-hot forward Duba, who has bagged four goals in Rochester's last five league games, will be fresh after serving his suspension during Tuesday's game against the Union. The Cabo Verdean power forward was dismissed last month in Round Three in Harrisburg but will look to show Bill Becher's men his impressive reliability in front of goal.
Even if Christian Volesky hadn't played 192 of a possible 210 minutes inside a week's time, he should be benched for Friday's contest. The former Portland TImbers draft pick has been in rather abysmal former and hasn't scored against any team not named FC Montreal this season. In addition to his profligacy, Rhinos head coach Bob Lilley has options in Colin Rolfe, Alex Dixon, and Asani Samuels.
Rolfe was purposely rested last weekend against Louisville but then did not feature against Philadelphia, raising questions about his fitness. Dixon came off the bench in both of Rochester's last two games across competitions as he regains fitness after a month on the sidelines. Samuels, the hero of Rochester's extra time victory over Harrisburg City Islanders, has only been a given late-game cameos since joining the team full-time after graduating college.
In midfield, Kenardo Forbes looked exhausted on Tuesday and Tony Walls was subbed out for just the second time all season last Saturday. Luckily for the Rhinos, Johnny Mendoza and Marcos Ugarte can man the flanks while Mike Garzi and Sean Totsch have shown the ability to play well out wide in a pinch. Resting Walls would be a big decision and Tyler Rudy's Open Cup 72-minute participation with the Revolution on Wednesday limits the possibility he could fill in for Rochester's captain on Friday.
Brandon Miller was in exceptional form against both Philadelphia on Tuesday and Louisville on Saturday. Lilley could continue that positive groove or call upon rookie Adam Grinwis to give his number one a break. Scottish veteran Sean Murdoch has been the third choice option in goal for Rochester this season, only starting one game all year.
Friday's game is the first of only two meetings between Rochester and Harrisburg. The two teams have a recent history full of intensity and bad blood. Notably Harrisburg's coach Bill Becher required a police escort off the field during a scuffle in a 2011 playoff match. The City Islanders sit in seventh place with 15 points and a 4-3-3 record. Harrisburg is undefeated at home this year in the league.
Bob Lilley will implore his players to put Tuesday night's disappointment behind them and continue their momentum in USL. Rochester's current 12-game undefeated run this season is the second longest in club history. The Rhinos went on a 14-0 run in the 1998 season, back in a day when the A-League opted not to use ties.
The Rhinos kick off from Skyline Sports Complex on the Susquehanna River at 7:30PM on Friday night.