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Miami FC, Rochester Register Important Wins Wednesday

Miami FC earned a huge 3 points on the road against Crystal Palace Baltimore in a Wednesday afternoon contest, beating the Baltimore team 1-0.  Meanwhile, on Wednesday evening the Rochester Rhinos held on for a 1-0 win over third place Portland, lengthening the gap between them and the Timbers to 9 points.  The second place Rhinos closed the Austin Aztex’ lead to just 2 points, but the Aztex have three games in hand compared to Rochester.  Miami FC’s  positive result leaves the Blues with a 3-8-9 record, while the loss gives CP Baltimore a 5-10-5 record, identical with NASL Conference rival AC St. Louis.  Although Miami FC remains in the cellar of the USSF D2, Wednesday’s result gives the team a ray of hope to make a playoff run, and start the new month on the right foot.  It was also new coach Daryl Shore’s first win while in charge of the Miami club.

On a hot afternoon at the Maryland Soccer Plex, Miami FC came out with determination, dominating the game early as Christian Gomez, Paulo Jr. and Abe Thompson had attempts on goal.  Thompson’s apparent goal was nullified by a offside call in the 36th minute, and two minutes later Brian Shriver’s shot on the CP Baltimore goal went wide.   The first half ended scoreless.  Both teams came out gunning for the three points in the second half, despite the heat, but Miami was the team that netted as Shriver headed past Evan Bush after taking a long cross from Euzebio Neto in the 70th minute.  Shriver now has four tallies for the Blues in 2010.  Miami FC was able to hold on for the three points over CP Baltimore, with Caleb Patterson recording his fourth clean sheet in league play in 2010 and the team picking up its first road win of the season.  After the game, Coach Shore remarked that ” It was a great effort by the guys on a hot day when it was difficult to concentrate.  The team got what they deserved today with a much needed win.”   Congratulations, Coach !!!   The Blues head to Puerto Rico for a match with the Islanders on Saturday.  Jim Cherneski’s Crystal Palace Baltimore team have a week to regroup before traveling to Montreal for a midweek match. 

Bob Lilley’s Rochester Rhinos solidified their hold on second place in the USL Conference with their one goal win over Portland, and are creeping up on Austin.  Neil Kitson got the nod in the Rhinos’ nets, and responded by shutting out the Timbers.  Captain Frankie Sanfilippo was back in the lineup after missing time awaiting the birth of his child….congratulations to Frankie on the new arrival !!!   The Rhinos played without Aaron Pitchkolan, out with a red card suspension, and Jamie Franks and Tino Nunez, who were sidelined with injuries.   

Rochester started out well in their return from a road trip.  In front of a weeknight crowd of almost 7,000 fans, the Rhinos’ Isaac Kissi missed a 4th minute chance to give Rochester a lead when his shot from inside the six yard box somehow missed the target, off of a nice cross from the left flank by Tyler Rosenlund.  Kissi made amends, though, in the 22nd minute as he worked around defenders to deliver a ball to Haitian midfielder Kenold Versailles, who’s shot from the top of the box beat Portland keeper Steve Cronin and Versailles’ first score of 2010. 

 Cronin came up big early in the second half, though, saving a Ryan Heins penalty kick to keep his team in the game.  Kissi looked to add to the Rochester lead in the 73rd minute, but was caught in a Portland offsides trap and his goal was nullified.  Bright Dike led a Portland counterattack shortly after Cronin’s big save, but shot wide of the Rhinos’ net.  Ryan Pore had an opportunity to level the game, but his free kick narrowly missed the mark.  Kitson had a great game in goal for Rochester, coming up with some big saves.   Coach Bob Lilley has the best goalkeeping tandem in the league, with Kitson and veteran Scott Vallow both having impressive seasons. 

Gavin Wilkinson’s Timbers end their road trip with a 1-2-1 record and now head home to PGE Park for a meeting next Wednesday with the NSC Minnesota Stars.  The team recently acquired striker Ibad Muhamadu from Dutch team FC Dordrecht, who hopefully can add some finishing to the Portland offense and improve the Timbers’ 7-7-6 season record.  Rochester travel south to meet the Carolina RailHawks, also next Wednesday, in their next league contest.  Rochester and Portland split their two game season series, each club winning at home.

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