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Opposition Report: Rochester - 9/16

By Joel Norman, 09/12/17, 4:00PM EDT

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The Pittsburgh Riverhounds (8-9-10) wrap up their brief two-match homestand this weekend when they face the Rochester Rhinos (11-5-9) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Highmark Stadium.

This will be the second of three meetings between Pittsburgh and Rochester this season. The two teams last met on July 22, a scoreless draw in Rochester, and meet again in Pittsburgh on Oct. 7 for the series finale.

All time, Rochester leads the head-to-head series, 23-6-5. 

The Season so far

The Rhinos currently hold the third seed in the USL Eastern Conference. With seven matches to go, the club is well on its way to its fourth straight postseason berth, only needing 11 points to clinch a spot.

Rochester most recently played Ottawa Fury FC to a 1-1 draw on Sept. 9 and has dropped only two matches in its past 10 played (5-2-3). 

Player to watch

Goalkeeper Tomas Gomez is tied for first in the East and second overall in the USL with nine clean sheets. Gomez has stopped 72.5 percent of shots faced and steadies a strong Rhinos’ defensive unit.

The American keeper was in net the last time the Hounds and Rhinos met, making four stops total, including two ten-bell saves on Kay Banjo and Romeo Parkes, respectively, in the second half to secure his then-eighth shutout of the season.  

+/-

Strengths

Defense – The Rhinos’ 11 clean sheets are tied for both the Eastern Conference lead and second-best in the USL. Rochester has given up multiple goals in only five matches so far this season (1-3-1) and its 0.92 goals allowed average is tied for tops in the East.

Crosses – Not only do the Rhinos’ 76 successful crosses lead the conference, but so do their 345 open cross plays. Working the ball on both sides of the field is pivotal to Rochester’s success.  

Weaknesses

Road record – Despite a strong 7-2-4 performance at home, the Rhinos have struggled on the road, posting a 4-3-5 record. 

Scoring – Rochester holds the fourth-worst conversion rate in the conference at 13 percent and the club’s 29 goals scored slots in a tie for the fourth-lowest scoring output in the East.