by Taylor Sorrels (@taylorsorrels)
When I read Louisville City’s next opponent’s name in full, all I can think of is a mid-1930’s dust bowl carnival barker in a boater hat and striped shirt yelling STEP RIGHT UP! THURSDAY THURSDAY THURSDAY!!!1! COME ONE COME ALL TO SEE THE LASCIVIOUS LADS FROM LOUISVILLE CITY QUELL THE RAVENOUS, RESPLENDENT ROCHESTER RAGING RAMPAGING RHINOCEROSES! ALLITERATION IS OUR FRIEND!
In all seriousness, big match coming up tomorrow for Elsie. It’s on a weekday evening. The Derby Festival is getting ready to kick off. You won’t really be working at all over the next two weeks anyway. Why not start a couple days even earlier and watch the big match with us at 7:30 at Slugger Field?
Looking at the USL Eastern Conference table, you’ll see that just underneath the white-hot Charleston Battery is our next opponent from New York. No, not that New York. The other New York, the state. People forget that there’s about 50,000 square miles of land called New York that isn’t a part of NYC. Rochester is apparently known as the World’s Image Center for some reason, and it was also once known as the Flour City, for an equally obscure reason that I will not look up. The Rhinos are one of the oldest teams in the USL, founded in 1996. They have not updated their crest, name, or colors since that time.
One day, it’ll be totally retro and boss and people in Brooklyn and Germantown will be wearing Rhinos jerseys, but not in 2015. Lots of people might not remember this, but despite being a city of just over 200,000, Rochester was a possible MLS expansion city just a decade ago thanks to Rochester’s success at the lower levels of U.S. soccer and in the U.S. Open Cup, having made the finals twice and winning once.
The Rhinos have had a good start to this season, taking six points in their fist three matches. They’ve only given up one goal in a 1-2 win at Pittsburgh, and put 3 on FC Montreal last week in Quebec. Rochester is known to be a strong defensive team, and gave up the second fewest goals in the league last season. They play a pretty physical style of ball, and aren’t afraid to foul, with 38 whistles and eight yellow cards in three games so far. The Rhinos return seven players from last year’s squad, including forward Alex Dixon. The most surprising player in the team is rookie Christian “Pesky”, as I call him, Volesky, who was drafted but not signed by Portland Timbers FC earlier this year and thus far has scored two goals on four shots, the other two of which resulted in saves. Geez. Speaking of shots, they take a lot, averaging 13 per game, while surrendering less than six.
So Rochester is going to be tough. Know who else is tough? Johnny Cash. And our guys in purple. Let’s go get us some large endangered-species-list game, shall we?