The formation could have been a traditional 4-4-2, or a 4-2-3-1 with advanced wingers, but the team most likely operated as a 4-4-1-1. Scottish forward Tam McManus is the self-proclaimed “number 10″ for the Rhinos and likes to pop into spaces and exchange quick passes.The first half was largely the Danny Earls show and I fully expect his effort to be rewarded with a contract. The Irish trialist had two assists to set up Tam McManus and J.C. Banks in the opening quarter of an hour.
Up top, Graciano Brito also proved to be a worthwhile acquisition, thus far, as a potent target man. The 6’2″ striker will be tasked with holding up play as a center forward but today he showed his killer instincts to goal by running onto a ball played through by Rosenlund and poking it into the back of the net in the 16th minute.
After a quality display from the starters in the first half, Myers and assistant coach Bill Sedgewick decided to give other players a look in the team. Greek defender George Kyriazis entered at halftime for Tyler Bellamy, Tam McManus made way for Conor Chinn, and Mac Hemmi came in at right back for Quavas Kirk.
The Rhinos made seven more changes in the 57th minute. Danny Earls ended his impressive display and Pedro Rivas was his replacement. Gary Boughton came on for Tyler Rosenlund in center midfield. Kyle Manscuk came on for defensive stalwart Troy Roberts. Juan Pablo Reyes came as left back for Jack Traynor. Kendell McFayden entered for J.C. Banks. Rookie Brandon Miller took over in goal for Kristian Nicht. Jeremy Ortiz went up top as Graciano Brito ended his work.
Kyriazis, Hemmi, Earls, McFayden, Boughton, and Rivas all featured in the Rhinos previous preseason match. Manscuk, Reyes, and Ortiz were all new faces, however. Manscuk, Reyes and Ortiz all joined Boughton on the Rochester Lancers this past indoor season. Reyes was also a part of the Lancers Major Indoor Soccer League’s divisional rivals, the Syracuse Silver Knights.
Jeremy Ortiz has extensive experience in the indoor game. The 26 year old New Jersey native attended LaSalle University in Philadelphia. For three years running, Ortiz was named to the Atlantic-10 Conference All Team while at LaSalle and he began his professional career with the New Jersey Ironmen of the MISL in 2008 with whom he registered 5 goals and 4 assists. He then spent the 2009-10 season with the Philadelphia Kixx before joining the Lancers for the 2011-12 campaign.
Juan Pablo Reyes was born in Ecuador but grew up in Florida. There he played with Cocoa Expos (summer 2006) and Central Florida Kraze (summer 2007) of the Premier Development League and with the Orlando Sharks of the Major Indoor Soccer League (winter 2007-08). After one season with the Orlando Sharks, Reyes was recommended to the Rhinos coaching staff and he made 15 appearances in the 2008 season. He returned to the Central Florida Kraze before coming back to Western New York to play indoor with the Lancers and, due to a mid-season trade, the Syracuse Silver Knights.
Kyle Manscuk actually played for Rochester’s opponents, Binghamton University, for four years where he impressed and improved each year. Manscuk was awarded America East All-Rookie Team, second-team America East All-Conference, America East All-Tournament Team, and first-team NSCAA All-Northeast Region in successive seasons. He started every game for the team for three seasons running and was named team MVP in his senior year. The Rochester native attended Aquinas Institute for four years where he was also a standout player and captain. As a 6’3″ defender, Manscuk can offer relief to Bellamy and Roberts during a grueling 2012 USL-Pro campaign.
Masaki “Mac” Hemmi, who also featured in the match against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, has played as a central midfielder and right back throughout his career. From 2005-2009 the Tokyo\ native started 65 matched for the Colorado School of Mines while also playing with the Colorado Rapids u-23 team in the PDL. He was the captain of that Colorado Rapids u-23 team in 2007 and 2008, and he started 31 games during his three seasons with the team. In 2010 Hemmi played 10 games with the Portland Timbers PDL team before traveling to Germany to join FC Viktoria 08 Arnoldsweiler in the amateur leagues. He briefly played with Sevilla FC of the Puerto Rican league in 2010 and then moved the following year to FC Gulbene, a Latvian club with ties to Japan. In 2011 Hemmi was invited to train with the Colorado Rapids senior team but was never offered a contract. Hemmi can deputize for Quavas Kirk at right back and also offers a bit of versatility, which is vital in the USL-Pro.
Absent from the team sheet against Binghamton was 25 year old Chilean central midfielder Gustavo Zamudio. This could be due to a small knock which prevented full fitness or that the decision on his future with the club has already been made. The first half featured a full strength line-up of contracted players (and Danny Earls) and all the second half substitutions but two were to introduce trialists. It is purely speculation, but the write up on the Rhinos’ site from the Pittsburgh match makes a fairly strong argument in favor of the player,
The Chilean central midfielder showed his ability to serve a free kick when he whipped a ball into the box from forty yards out that sailed just over Graciano Brito’s head. Zamudio showed some glimpses of the ability that he possesses, but the match in Pittsburgh was an important introduction to the style of play in the USL PRO. The Rhinos currently only have four midfielders listed on their 2012 roster, and Zamudio looks like he might be a great addition to the club.
This crop of trialing players are showing the potential to plug holes in the Rhinos’ roster. Particularly impressive across the two preseason games was Danny Earls, who should be earning a contract soon. Things seem to be coming together for a great run in 2012 for the Rochester Rhinos.