Rhinos, Battery scoreless in first leg
Series heads to Charleston for second leg
ROCHESTER, NY -- The Charleston Battery ground out a scoreless tie with the Rochester Raging Rhinos tonight in front of 10,017 at Frontier Field.
The game was the first of a two-match aggregate score series that will decide the A-League Eastern Conference Title and send the winner to the Championship game. Both teams now return to Blackbaud Stadium for Sunday's concluding match; kick off is set for 6 pm.
Charleston had a sequence of shots in the 4th minute. Ted Chronopoulos drove the ball at the goal from just outside the box. It was blocked away to midfielder Rick Titus. Titus immediately hit it on-target again, but again it was parried away by Rochester's defense. Chronopoulos was first to the loose ball but his effort missed wide right.
In the 8th minute Rhinos goalkeeper, Billy Andracki failed to hold a Battery cross cleanly. The ball span up and across to the back of the 6-yard box. Titus jumped to head it in but the ball just missed to the right of the goal.
Rochester fought back into the game and came close to scoring in the 29th minute. Midfielder, Kirk Wilson ran onto a pass at the edge of the penalty-area. He fired a low shot right-footed that flew wide of the right-hand upright.
The Rhinos came close again in the 37th minute. They worked a short-corner neatly to defender Scott Schweitzer just inside the box. He drilled a shot at the goal forcing a diving reaction-save from Battery goalkeeper, Dusty Hudock.
The best chance of the first-half fell to Charleston in the 44th minute. The Battery broke quickly into Rochester's half and forward Josh Henderson rolled a pass into the path of Ted Chronopoulos on the left side. Chronopoulos took a touch forward but his hard left-footed shot was blocked away for a corner by Andracki.
Rochester was more aggressive in the second half as they pushed for a goal in front of their home fans. Kirk Wilson saw a long-range effort sail high in the 58th minute. Then a few minutes after that Doug Miller came close but his attempted lob also missed high.
Hudock was called into action in the 70th minute making a save from midfielder Lenin Steenkamp's hard drive. Hudock parried the ball up and then caught it cleanly on the second-attempt.
The Battery almost stole the game in the 87th minute. Conway picked up a loose ball just inside Rochester's half. Spotting Andracki slightly out of position he rifled a shot at the goal. Andracki scrambled across and made the save at the near post.
Referees: Andrew Chapin, Jason Krnac, Vito Testa, Andrew Adelman