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Rochester beat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-1, winning its season opener for just the second time in its seven-year history.

The Score 

Get on the good foot

Last time out. Rochester beat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-1, winning its season opener for just the second time in its seven-year history. Bill Sedgewick's overtime crack, the finest opening-day goal since Tim Hardy thumped that long-range shot against Connecticut back in ’98, whizzed past a confused, flat-footed T.J. Hannig as Frontier exploded in hysteria and fireworks. It was the ninth meeting between the Rhinos and the Riverhounds, and the eighth time the margin of victory was one goal (the other match was a 2-2 draw).

Next up. The 1-0-0 Rhinos face the Charleston Battery (2-1-0) on Friday in what will probably be the biggest and toughest regular-season battle in the history of Frontier. The good news: Charleston plays this Wednesday at Pittsburgh, so they might be tuckered out. The bad news: The Battery defense is second to none (including Rochester), with newcomers Terry Phelan (played in World Cup for Ireland), Linval Dixon (played in World Cup for Jamaica), Andrew Lewis (from Chicago), and Mark Watson (Canadian National from DC United) anchoring a back line that probably won't let much past it this year. If any goals are scored by either side, they'll probably come from free kicks or bad deflections.

Forwards vs. ex-forwards. Although the Rhinos won last weekend, both goals came from the midfield, echoing the start of the 2001 campaign, where it took six full matches for a forward --- John Wolyniec --- to put one in as time expired in Hershey. Speaking of Wolyniec, he scored for Milwaukee, as did ex-Rhino forward Steve Butcher (for Hampton Roads). Adding insult to injury, Jamel Mitchell assisted in one of Atlanta's three goals against Toronto. In a related story, Nasho Kirov would like to know if you’d be interested in the lube and filter special.

Other former Rhinos. Nate Daligcon started Seattle's first match of the year but did so as a right back (he had an assist in game two). The aforementioned Mitchell and his Silverbacks teammate Carl Fletcher both went the distance for 4-0-0 Atlanta. Montreal kicked off its season with a 1-0 road loss to Charleston, sporting a new starting XI that included Gabriel Gervais, Eduardo Sebrango, and Dan Annan, with the latter two forming the Impact's new forward tandem. He was never officially a Rhino, but training camp exile Sean Michael Callahan signed with Hampton Roads and has already scored once.

The former Rochester South. Lots of people think Atlanta is still Rochester South, but there's actually more of a Charleston feel down there in Georgia. There were an alarming number of ex-Rhinos playing for the Silverbacks in 2001, but most of them (Billy Andracki, Kevin Rueda, Andy Restrepo, Jimmy Glenn, and Nasho Kirov) are long gone. At last count, Atlanta had 22 players on its roster, and only three have ever donned a Rhinos jersey. In fact, of those 22, only three actually saw action for Atlanta last season. The team's dramatic off-season overhaul included the signing of 19 new players, the majority of which came from other A-League squads, and the bulk of those coming from Charleston. To date, Atlanta has scored 10 times, and the former Battery players have accounted for five goals, four assists, and three Team of the Week honors.

Life on the road. You know how everyone thinks the Rhinos get the shaft when it comes to the officiating while playing in Canada? The plight of the 1-1-3 Toronto Lynx might just make you feel better. Five matches into its eight-game road trip (the team’s new stadium won't be ready until June 9), Toronto has received 16 cautions and seen four different players sent off. Argentinean defender Mauricio Vincello even caught the business end of a six-match suspension for his naughty antics against Richmond. Considering the Lynx only received two red cards in all of 2001, they're either getting their just desserts or are simply a roving band of thugs. Anyone familiar with Brian Ashton suspects it's probably the latter.
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