Democrat and Chronicle
Sports – September 27, 2009 – 8:26pm
For the second straight year, the Rhinos couldn’t make a lead hold up in the second leg of their two-game, aggregate-goal playoff series with Puerto Rico. No. 6 seed Rochester took a 2-1 lead to Bayamon, but lost 4-1 tonight to lose their USL First Division quarterfinal series, 5-3, on aggregate. The Rhinos’ season ends with a record of 12-10-10.
They played sluggish all night in Puerto Rico, allowing allowed the Islanders (16-8-8) to tie the series on Fabrice Noel’s goal in the 14th minute. Then Rochester was dealt another setback in the 29th minute, as defender Brent Sancho picked up his second yellow card, meaning a red-card ejection, and forcing Rochester (12-10-10) to play the rest of the match a man short.
Puerto Rico’s Petter Villegas hit the right post with a shot in the 35th minute and forward Nicholas Addlery put the Islanders ahead, 3-2, on aggregate by converting on a leaping header on the far post off a cross by Jonny Steele. Goalkeeper Scott Vallow made a diving save in the 67th minute on Addlery’s 20-yard shot, keeping the Rhinos behind by just a goal in the series.
But Noel dribbled past two lunging defenders and scored again in the 80th minute to make the series, 4-2. Rochester pulled back to within a goal again in the 83rd minute, as Kenney Bertz convered on Andrew Gregor’s corner kick. But the Islanders sealed the series on Addlery’s easy putaway in front off a counter attack in the 90th. Puerto Rico, which rallied from a two-goal hole in last year’s second leg with a 3-0 win in Game 2, will face No. 4 Charleston or No. 5 Montreal in the USL semifinals. Rochester also lost 2-0 this season in Bayamon on Sept. 6, but tied 0-0 there on April 24. The Islanders had the USL’s best home record (11-1-3) in the regular season.