Staff report • October 5, 2008
BAYAMON, Puerto Rico – The Rhinos were eliminated from the USL First Division playoff semifinals tonight, losing 3-0 in double overtime at Juan Ramon Lobriel Stadium as top-seeded Puerto Rico came from behind to win in dramatic fashion.
The Islanders (16-7-9) scored in the second overtime, in the 120th minute, to complete a comeback from a 2-0 deficit in the two-game, total-goal series. The Rhinos (13-12-9) had taken a two-goal advantage into tonight after Friday’s series opener in Rochester.
Puerto Rico will face No. 2 seed Vancouver (16-9-8), which came from behind tonight at home to edge No. 3 Montreal, 2-1 on aggregate goals in the other series, in Saturday’s USL title match.
The Rhinos were only a few minutes away from taking their series to a decisive, penalty-kick shootout.
Regulation ended with Puerto Rico ahead 2-0 in the game, which tied the series at 2-2 and forced two, mandatory 15-minute overtime periods.
The Islanders had drawn within a goal tonight in the 11th minute on Fabrice Noel’s bicycle kick from about eight yards off a corner kick.
The Islanders, who had beaten Rochester 4-0 in Puerto Rico on Aug. 8, tied it in the 35th minute on Taiwo Atieno’s header off a corner kick. A minute earlier, Puerto Rico’s Cristian Arrieta had booted a 10-yard volley off the crossbar.
The Rhinos had a goal called back in the 67th minute, as top-scorer Johnny Menyongar was ruled offside after scoring from about 15 yards after Andrew Gregor’s pass into the box hit him in stride.