Disclaimer: I wrote this piece when I got home from the match Saturday night while I was still angry so it’s pretty critical of a lot of people.
Rochester Rhinos didn’t show up for the first half of Saturday’s game. Kristian Nicht definitely earned his paycheck by coming up huge when the game opened up in the second half. Looking at the tactical decisions, it seemed head coach Jesse Myers was managing the game from his armchair at home. Meanwhile Lucky Mkosana stole the show scoring his second goal against Rochester in as many games and setting up the winner for Drew Yates.
Rhinos lined up in a 4-5-1 formation with a few headscratchers. Because Drew Cost is still injured, Myers tried to use Earls in that playmaking midfield role. You may remember Earls dropping deep in the center to receive the ball in the match against Philadelphia. On paper this made a bit of sense but more importantly it allowed Michael Tanke to operate as a ball winner. Tanke was constantly closing down opponents and putting his body on the line to make hard tackles. This midfield tandem also freed up Tyler Rosenlund to push forward.
Because Earls moved into the center of the field, Quavas Kirk pushed up from defense to play right midfield. Argentine defender Lucas Fernandez stepped into the backline with Tyler Bellamy, Troy Roberts, and Jack Traynor. J.C. Banks was solid playing on the left side but Traynor’s fragility forced him to defend more than he was used to. Tam McManus started the game as a lone forward but didn’t get any service and was forced to drop deep to receive the ball in midfield.
Saturday night’s match was very disappointing. Rhinos were outplayed at home and didn’t do much to deserve anything from the match. Were it not for a handful of highlight reel saves by Kristian Nicht, Rochester would have suffered a much more embarrassing scoreline. Driving home with my girlfriend and two buddies, no one said much of anything. Someone remarked that none of us had seen the Rhinos win a league game this season because we were all still at our respective colleges when the team beat Charlotte in early May. In case it’s not apparent yet, this is unacceptable given how much talent this team has. Continue reading