Last season, Louisville City FC fans quickly built a regional rivalry with Saint Louis FC, but they came to know the Rochester Rhinos as the club to catch on the field. A draw and a loss during the United Soccer League’s regular season led to a playoff defeat to the Rhinos, one first-place LouCity will look to avenge Saturday.
Match time is 6:05 p.m. in Rochester, N.Y., with a broadcast available at LouisvilleCityFC.com. Fans will also gather for the club’s official watch party at the Great Flood Breweing Company.
Record: 5-3-3 (18 points)
Coach: Bob Lilley
Field: Rhinos Stadium (13,768)
Series: Louisville is 0-1-2 against Rochester, one of just two teams to have defeated LouCity more than once.
Franchise history: Founded in 1996, the Rhinos won four league titles before their 2015 USL crown and remain the only non-Major League Soccer club since the MLS started to win the U.S. Open Cup, a feat Rochester accomplished in 1999.
Current form: The Rhinos didn’t much threaten Wednesday night in a 1-0 U.S. Open Cup defeat to MLS’ New York Red Bulls, allowing an early goal in the 1-0 loss. Rochester’s form otherwise can be described as inconsistent. Its last three USL results were a draw, win and loss.
Style of play: A defensive-minded bunch, the Rhinos have scored 14 goals this year and allowed just 11, second-fewest in the USL behind New York Red Bulls II. The Red Bulls have given up just six and, as a result, are a point off LouCity in the Eastern Conference standings with a game in hand.
Player to watch: Christian Volesky netted a goal apiece in Rochester’s last two matches, pushing him to a team-high five on the season, and he’s done it by taking just 15 total shots. The forward from Nevada tallied 14 goals last year, his first with the Rhinos and fresh off named the 2015 MLS Combine’s MVP.
James O’Connor says: “Obviously, they won the championship last year. Bob did a great job there. They’ve had some changes. They’ve got some new personnel. They’ve got some really good players. It will be a good test for us. They’re obviously fighting to stay in the playoffs and go on and challenge and make sure they’re up there again…It’s a massive game for us this weekend.”