(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Rhinos fell 3-0 to the Charlotte Eagles on Friday in front of 7,025 fans at Sahlen’s Stadium. The Rhinos (11-7-4, 37 pts.) still maintain the top spot in the USL PRO National Division.
Charlotte’s Sallieu Bundu opened the scoring with a cracking strike from 18 yards out that beat Rhinos goalkeeper Neal Kitson in the 20th minute. With his back to goal at the top of the 18-yard box, Bundu received the ball from Darren Toby, turned and fired a curling left-footed shot just inside the far post.
Despite the early deficit, Rochester quickly turned the momentum in its favor. One minute after Charlotte’s goal, Rhinos midfielder J.C. Banks had an opportunity that he could not put on frame. In the 26th minute, Rhinos midfielder Tony Donatelli sent a cross into the path of Tyler Rosenlund, whose right-footed volley from 15 yards out smacked off the crossbar.
Five minutes later, it was Donatelli’s corner that found the head of Isaac Kissi, but Kissi’s snap header went inches wide of the far post and Charlotte took a 1-0 lead into the half.
Less than one minute into the second half, the Eagles doubled their lead when Toby sent in a cross to Mark Bloom, who headed the ball just inside the near post to give Charlotte a 2-0 lead.
In the 80th minute, Diego Martins curled a left-footed shot past Kitson at the far post to ice the game and give Charlotte the 3-0 victory.
“They did a nice job of finishing their chances,” Rhinos Head Coach Bob Lilley said. “For our part I thought we played well. We created a number of chances and today I think they finished well and we didn’t.”
Rochester had its chances but fell short in its attempt to mount a comeback. The Rhinos out-shot Charlotte 14-9 and held an incredible 14-2 advantage on corner kicks.
The Rhinos now have a quick turnaround with a road match against F.C. New York (4-11-7, 19 pts.) on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Belson Stadium on the campus of St. John’s University. The Rhinos return home to Sahlen’s Stadium on Saturday, August 13 when the Pittsburgh Riverhounds visit town for a 7 p.m. kick-off.