Jeff DiVeronica • Democrat and Chronicle • September 21, 2009

The Rhinos will start the postseason the way last year’s USL First Division playoffs ended, facing the Puerto Rico Islanders.

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The Islanders, who ousted Rochester in last year’s semifinals, won 3-1 at Miami on Saturday night to clinch the No. 3 seed. Rochester (11-10-9) is the No. 6 seed. Game 1 of their two-game, aggregate-goal series is Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at Marina Auto Stadium. Game 2 is Sunday in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

A time for Game 2 hasn’t been announced.

Tickets for Thursday’s match are on sale at the stadium box office or through Ticketmaster and Ticketmaster.com.

Puerto Rico (15-7-8) has a busy week ahead because it plays Costa Rica’s Deportivo Saprissa in Bayamon on Tuesday night in a CONCACAF Champions League match, then heads to Rochester.

The Rhinos went 0-1-2 this season against Puerto Rico, tying 0-0 on the road on April 24 and again 0-0 on July 10 in Rochester. The Rhinos also lost 2-0 at Puerto Rico two weeks ago in a match when they failed to convert a first-half penalty kick that would have given them the lead. Last year, Rochester gained a two-goal lead after the first game at home, then couldn’t protect it in Puerto Rico and lost, 3-2, on aggregate.

The Rhinos, who are 3-2-5 in the last 10 matches, ended the regular season with a pair of scoreless ties at home.

Top-seeded Portland (16-4-10) receives a playoff bye to the semifinals.

Other quarterfinal USL matchups:

  • No. 2 Carolina (16-6-7) vs. No. 7 Vancouver (11-10-9); Carolina won the season series, 1-0-2.
  • No. 4 Charleston (13-5-11) vs. No. 5 Montreal (12-11-7): They played two scoreless draws and the Battery won, 1-0, in the other meeting.
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