(Harrisburg, PA)...The Rochester Rhinos defeated the Harrisburg City Islanders, 1-0 to advance to the third round of U.S. Open Cup play. The next round will take place in Tuesday, June 28th at 7:30 p.m. against the Chicago Fire (MLS) at Sahlen's Stadium. Rochester was on their heels for most of the night but managed to escape with the win courtesy of aTony Donatelli penalty kick in the 88th-minute.
Rochester's PK came as a result of a take down of Rhinos forward Kendall Jagdeosingh, just inside the box by Harrisburg goalkeeper, Phil Tuttle. Tuttle, a rookie, got the start in goal over former Rhino Chase Harrison, who had stared every game against the Rhinos this season.
Offensively, Donatelli was the hero, however the game's biggest star was Rochester netmidner Neal Kitson. Kitson was under heavy pressure for most of the night facing seventeen shots. The second-year 'keeper made seven saves in goal, the most of his career. He kept the Islanders off the scoreboard early making two big saves in the first half. It appeared that Harrisburg would take the lead in the early stages of the second half, however defender Quavas Kirk cleared a shot from J.T. Noone that would have gone in.
The Rhinos improved their play in the second stanza. USL Pro Player of the Week Andrew Hoxie headed a shot that missed high in front of the Harrisburg goal in the 66th minute. Rochester's Tyler Rosenlund also had a chance but couldn't beat Tuttle early in the half. Kitson, however was clearly the Man of the Match making the save of the night with ten minutes remaining as he deflected a volley off a free kick from point-blank range. The deflection bounced off the right goalpost keeping the match scoreless.
Harrisburg had an opportunity in stoppage-time chance off a free kick, but a Troy Roberts cleared the ball off the goal line. Harrisburg controlled play for most of the match outshooting the Rhinos 17-9, generating 11 corners during the match.
Rochester will face the Chicago Fire (2-4-9) of Major League Soccer on Tuesday at Sahlen's Stadium. Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale Wednesday morning. Tuesday will mark the third time that the Rhinos have faced the Fire in Open Cup play. They are 1-0-1 all-time against the Fire, beating them 1-0 in 1999 and later falling in the fourth round to them on penalty kicks in the 2005 quarterfinals