Checking in with FC Buffalo

FC Buffalo gears up for the 2012 National Premier Soccer League season by signing a handful of players.  All of these players grew up in Western New York and each adds something different to an improving Blitzers squad.  The group of players include local high school superstars, area college stand outs, and a couple of professional players.  Jake Rinow, John Grabowski, Josh Faga, Mike Reidy, Patrick Zelko, and Andy Tiedt round out the first round of recent signings.  Aaron Rygiel, Nekabari Tor, and J.J. Bilinski were invited into the team but have not been signed yet.  But the greatest benefit to FC Buffalo could be the additions of professionals Kendell McFayden and Gary Boughton to the team, who were both recently on trial with the Rochester Rhinos. Continue reading

Spurs’ Patience Against Blackburn Pays Off

A goal in each half made sure Tottenham got all three points from Blackburn at the Lane.  Blackburn never mounted a threat and could not even manage a single shot all game (first time since 2004 that a Premier League team failed to generate a single shot or chance in a league match)  Tottenham controlled the game from the first minute when Lennon could have scored off a dangeous Modric cross.  Then in the 8th, Sandro smacked a shot off the bar which typified the Brazilian’s inspired play today. In the 22th minute Lennon crossed from just inside the box and Bale headed off the bar before Blackburn’s centerback cleared off the line.  Unfortunately for the relegation-threatened team, the clearance bobbled right to Adebayor who blocked off the Blackburn defense long enough for van der Vaart to pop in and jab the ball over the line.  At the end of the half, Gallas headed onto the crossbar from a corner.  After halftime was much of the same, with Tottenham pushing all 10 of their field players in the Blackburn half.  In the 75th minute, Kyle Walker scored another memorable goal, this time a nearly perfect free kick goal from range.

With this win, Tottenham leapfrogs Newcastle into fourth place on virtue of goal differential.  Arsenal is third with 66 points, Spurs are on fourth with 62 but 20 goal differential.  Newcastle also has 62 points but has only built up a plus 7 goal differential.  Chelsea is breathing down Spurs’ collective neck on 61 points with 23 goal differential. Continue reading

Rhinos Squeak by Dayton to Finish Their Road Trip A Perfect 3-0

The Rhinos took advantage of a defensive blunder by the Dayton Dutch Lions to steal three points in a drab and dreary USL-Pro match on Saturday night.  Neither team really deserved to win this match, but J.C. Banks was on hand to capitalize on a truly dreadful back pass debacle.

The Rhinos started Kristian Nicht in goal; Quavas Kirk, George Kyriazis, Troy Roberts, and Jack Traynor in the back; Danny Earls on the right, J.C. Banks out left, Drew Cost and Tyler Rosenlund in the middle; with Tam McManus playing behind Graciano Brito.

The Dayton Dutch Lions ran out the same lineup they used in their previous two league matches. Matthew Williams; Gregory Preciado, Nixon Dias, Mettin Copier, and Shane Smith; Joel DeLass, Mikael McNamara, and Kyle Knotek; Gibson Bardsley, Gerrit-Jan Bartels, and Akeem Priestley.

In the first half, the Rhinos seemed to struggle with the advanced wing-play from Dayton’s wide forwards Gibson Bardsley and Akeem Priestley.  Rochester seemed content to sit back, soak up pressure and exploit counter attacks.  However, no counter attacks were forthcoming and the Dutch Lions could not put together a final ball.  In fact, both teams were spraying sloppy passes and slicing shots well wide of the goal in the first 45 minutes.  The referee’s whistle came as a relief for the spectators much more so than for the players of either side. Continue reading

Rochester Rhinos at Dayton Dutch Lions: Match Preview

The starting lineup for both of Dayton’s previous two USL-Pro matches this year has been:
Defenders: Mettin Copier, Nixon Dias, Gregory Preciado, and Shane Smith
Midfielders: Joel DeLass, Kyle Knotek, and Mikael McNamara
Forwards: Gibson Bardsley, Gerrit-Jan Bartels, and Akeem Priestley
Goalkeeper: Matthew Williams

Midfielders Bret Jones and Eric Kissinger played significant minutes in the second half against Charlotte, while forwards Daniel Holowaty and Eli Garner both played a role against Pittsburgh last week.  I think the Dutch Lions will probably use many of these same players and may even repeat the starting XI against the Rhinos.

Shane Smith is a 26 year old second year professional who previously played in the Professional Arena Soccer League.  Daniel Holowaty is a 6’0″ Buffalo native and 2011 Rochester Institute of Technology graduate.  Joel DeLass, 25, previously played with the Charlotte Eagles in 2010.  In his first professional season, Eric Kissinger ended the 2011 Dutch Lions campaign with 4 goals in 17 appearances.  Mettin Copier is a former Austrian youth international who trained in the AZ Alkmaar development structure before gaining experience in the Dutch second division (Eerste).  Mikael McNamara is a SUNY Albany graduate who debuted professionally against the Rhinos last season.  31 year old Bret Jones is an Ohio soccer veteran, making the Dutch Lions his fifth Ohio-based club.  Gibson Bardsley is a young forward from Washington State who made two appearances for the Charlotte Eagles last season.  Matt Williams spent 2011 with the Wilmington Hammerheads but didn’t make his professional debut until this month with the Dutch Lions.  Akeem Priestley played last year with the L.A. Blues and is a part of the Jamaican national team set up. Continue reading

Will the Rhinos Host Matches in the 2012 U.S. Open Cup?

The 2012 edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup features changes to the host bidding process.  Cup guru Josh Hakala of discusses these new changes with regard to the fees paid to the U.S.S.F.

In 2012, a new system has been put in place where, in the first two rounds, if both teams meet the minimum venue standards, then a blind draw will determine who will host the match. The only consistency throughout the competition is the host team must pay the federation 15% of the gross gate receipts above $100,000. In Round 3, when Major League Soccer teams join the tournament, the same procedure will be followed, except that the host will also pay a flat hosting fee of $12,000 in advance of the match in addition to the potential 15% if they reach the $100k mark.

In Round 4, the hosting fee increases to $18,000 and then to $25,000 for the Quarterfinals.

The Semifinals and the Final will continue to utilize the sealed bid process from previous years.

The 15% of gross gate receipts more than $100,000 doesn’t seem like a problem for the Rhinos in Round 2.  The second round, held on May 22, is when USL and NASL clubs enter the competition and the Rhinos are likely to play against an amateur team (PDL, NPSL, or USASA).  This match will be held on a Tuesday night, and while attendance statistics are sparse for the cup, the Rhinos aren’t likely to draw much more than 3,000.  I feel pretty comfortable saying that the Rhinos won’t collect close to $100,000 from the gate (3,000 * $15 tickets = $45,000).

There is however a slight chance that the Rhinos wouldn’t host their Round 2 match.  If a team from NPSL (National Premier Soccer League) or PDL (Premier Development League) can meet the U.S.S.F.’s venue standards, then the Rhinos and the other team each have a 50% probability of winning the second round hosting rights.

A different arises if the Rhinos try to host a match in Round 3.  The U.S.S.F. will require a flat hosting fee of $12,000 in addition to the 15% of gate receipts over $100,000.  Last year the team drew 5,558 fans for the Tuesday night game against the Chicago Fire.  With baseline general admission tickets at $10 and some premium seats set at $15 and $20, let’s say for the sake of mathematics that the average price of tickets is $15.  If Rochester can drum up support for a weeknight game against an MLS team, say 6,500 spectators, that would create a gross gate receipt of $97,500.  Granted this number is highly inflated because a lot more people buy $10 tickets than $20 ones and also 6,500 is a very hopeful predicted turnout, but even so this figure does not reach the point where the Rhinos would have to fork over a percentage of receipts to the U.S.S.F.

Another thing to take into account is that while the “gross gate receipts” figure does not mean profits (gross, not net), it also does not mean concessions.  When I go to a Rhinos’ game I like to enjoy a few beverages, maybe a hot dog, and some nachos with friends.  Two $4 drinks, a $6 hot dog and $5 nachos is $19.  Not every spectator at the game will buy food or as much food as I do (I love greasy stadium food and carnival food), but there is probably one person like me for every 3 or 4 conservative soccer moms who make their kids eat before the game.  Let’s just say, for the sake of my argument, that every 5 spectators spend $20 on food or drinks or other vendors’ items during the game.  Even If we use the attendance figure from last year (5,558), we’re still looking at a gross of $22,000 on concessions for a Tuesday night game, which the U.S.S.F. does not have access to.

Between $20,000 gross from concessions and $80,000 (5,558 * $15) from gate receipts, the Rhinos organization is looking to rake in upwards of $100,000 gross from hosting a Round 3 U.S. Open Cup match against an MLS team.  This seems to me to be worth the flat $12,000 hosting fee since gate receipts alone aren’t likely to trigger the extra payment to the U.S.S.F.  That leaves the only hurdle to hosting actually winning the bid.  Unless the MLS team is unwilling to submit a bid or unable to provide a stadium on a Tuesday night, the Rhinos will go in 50-50 with their opponent.  If our organization does win the right to host an MLS team, the Rhinos will not only have a chance to knock-off a quality opponent in front of home fans but also the opportunity to make a boatload of money.

Join the Stampede!
Let’s bring the cup back home to Rochester!

Rhinos Find a Way Past the L.A. Blues Again

The Rhinos went into Titan Stadium at Cal State Fullerton hoping to take a point away from the L.A. Blues.  Instead of settling for a draw, the team exploded out of the half time break and notched two quick goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half.  Despite defending heavily, Rochester remained dangerous on counter attacks and continued to press for a third goal when they had possession.  This victory moves the team to 2-0 on the early season, which Jeff DiVeronica revealed on Twitter is the first time the Rhinos have accomplished this feat since 2006.  Not only that, but the Rhinos picked up 6 points on the road from one of the pre-season favorites in USL-Pro.

The Los Angeles play-by-play analyst Marc Serber (@SoccerSerber) was fantastic throughout the match.  But onto the actual game..

The Rhinos lined up in the same 4-5-1/4-4-1-1 with Tam McManus playing in the hole.  Kristian Nicht started behind a back line of Jack Traynor, Troy Roberts, George Kyriazis, and Quavas Kirk.  J.C. Banks and Danny Earls again started on the wings, while Tyler Rosenlund and Drew Cost combined in the center of midfield.  Graciano Brito was the lone man up top.

Kirk was determined to be fit after coming off with a knock late in the first match, but the 32 old year Greek central defender replaced the injured Tyler Bellamy for his first league start as a Rhino.

Los Angeles started in the same formation they played last week, a 4-5-1 that transitions to a 4-3-3.  Starting from the goalkeeper, the Blues’ starters were: Jose Miranda; Sunyhung Cho, Carlos Borja, Ebrima Jatta, Bryan Burke; Erlys Garcia, Irving Garcia, Ricky Waddell; George Davis IV, Brian Farber, and Matt Fondy. Continue reading

A Belated Review of the Rhinos’ Season Opener and Preview of the Rematch in Los Angeles

Tonight (Friday night), the Rhinos will return to Cal State Fullerton to take on the L.A. Blues again.  Last week’s season opener saw the Rhinos run out 1-0 winners thanks to a Tyler Rosenlund header from J.C. Banks in what was otherwise a closely contested match.

“The good from Saturday was our defensive shape away from home and our work rate, that was tremendous,” Myers told Jeff DiVeronica. “But we have to get better at holding the ball and changing the point of attack. We weren’t able to do that enough. Matter of fact, when we did it we scored a goal. When we find J.C. and Danny (Earls) we create problems for people.”

Quavas Kirk came off early in the team’s first match, so Lucas Fernández could get his first start.  According to DiVeronica, George Kyriazis is likely to replace injured Tyler Bellamy in the back, while Jack Traynor looks set to start again as Mike Zaher recovers from a nagging groin problem.

“The most important part of Saturday night is that we got all three points in our season opener.”  Myers said.  “There are typically a lot of questions whenever you begin the season.  We really didn’t know how good we were as a team.  We also really didn’t know what to expect from the Blues with a completely different roster this season. One thing we did know is that when you play a team that (L.A. Blues head coach) Charlie’s (Naimo) coaching they are going to play a short passing, possession style of play.  We just wanted to keep them from turning that possession into balls played in behind us.”

Players waiting for a Rochester corner kick during last week’s season opener. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Blues Soccer facebook page.

Continue reading