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Playoff March to the Playoff Match: Rochester Rhinos

WHO:

Rochester Rhinos, 2-1 AET winners against visiting Charlotte Independence in Round 1

WHAT:

A second round USL Cup Playoffs match

WHEN:

Saturday, October 28, 2017, 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:

Louisville Slugger Field (FOR NOW), 401 E. Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202

WATCH:

BE THERE BE THERE BE THERE. IT IS A PROVEN FACT THAT RHINOCERI DO NOT LIKE LOUD NOISES AND MUCH PREFER THE QUIET, SOLITUDINAL ENVIRONS OF THEIR NATURAL, FROZEN, SPARSELY POPULATED HABITAT. SHOW UP AND MAKE THEM UNCOMFORTABLE, IF NOT UNNERVED.

But if you can’t make it, watch it on WBKI (?) 34, listen on 840 WHAS, or stream it on the old YouTubes.

WEATHER:

Best to bundle up with layers and/or brown liquor for this one:

WHO, AGAIN?

We know Rochester. They of the dentist-waiting-room-chair green kits with no sponsors. They of the 4-4-2. They of the bunker ball, matching the aforementioned waiting room experience. Rochester is a good team, they are a well-coached team, they are an excruciatingly boring team. They don’t score a lot of goals. They don’t permit a lot of goals to be scored. When goals are what makes soccer awesome, Rochester says “We’ll pass…the ball over the touch line and then kick you on the throw-in.”

This is a dangerous game for LouCity. Rochester will be more than content to cede possession, try to disrupt the Violabianco’s midfield, earn set pieces, and punish City mistakes. It’s their MO, their raison d’etre. It’s awful. While the Rampaging Rhinos have lost talented player after talented player every offseason, they still have some dangerous ones to watch for: Wal Fall, Jochen Graf, Kenardo Forbes, and Stephan Defregger. Those guys will likely be tasked with making this match a 0-0 draw at the end of extra time and taking their chances on penalty kicks.

I’d prefer we didn’t get to that. I fully expect James O’Connor to stick to his usual game plan and try to score an early goal. One might try to play more conservatively against an opponent like this, but JOC has rarely been one to adapt to his opponent, for better or worse. Frankly, though, if LouCity plays like they did against the Steel last week, it may not matter what Rochester does. The Purples will likely play the aggressor in this match, and the challenge will be to break open the Rhino back four. It will be difficult, of course, but not impossible. City has been much more imaginative this season on set plays, and that, ironically, might be what it takes to beat Rochester tomorrow night.

Or a Tarek Morad hat trick vis a vis through balls. Whatever works.

COME ON, CITY!