Rhinos hear jeers, regroup to win - Democrat and Chronicle

As they walked off the field at halftime down a goal, Rhinos coach Darren Tilley heard it from the fans and so did his players. "The way they showed their displeasure, certainly elevated our players," Tilley said. "It elevated me as a coach." After Tilley raised his voice in the locker room, Rochester raised its level of play. Sparked by two goals from Brazilian midfielder Ze Roberto, the Rhinos came back to beat second-place Vancouver, 3-1, on Saturday night before an announced crowd of 7,356 at PAETEC Park. Rochester (3-5-5, 14 points), which improved to 3-1-2 at home, still finds itself in last place in the USL First Division this morning, one point behind Puerto Rico and Montreal (tied for ninth). But it certainly didn't turn in a last-place performance, particularly in the second half. Vancouver (7-4-2), which beat the Rhinos 1-0 in May but lost 3-0 at PAETEC on June 13, stunned Rochester by taking the lead just 10 seconds into the match. Midfielder Justin Moose sent a pass into the box from 35 yards and Nick Addlery slotted a 16-yard shot inside the right post. The Rhinos tied it just 34 seconds into the second half when Ze Roberto tucked a 21-yard shot inside the left post. A veteran of nine USL seasons, Roberto finished like an old pro, too. He didn't blast his shot; he placed it. "Sometimes you hit it not too hard and the goalie can make the save, but that shot was in the right place," said Roberto, who played briefly last year with Vancouver. A minute later, new Rhinos defender Ross Smith made a huge play. Goalie Scott Vallow let the ball pop out of his hands as he hit the turf while snaring a cross. The ball went to Sebrango. He had been a Rhino-killer since leaving here in 2001 after one season. But his eight-yard shot was right at Smith, who was standing on the goal line and cleared it. "Sometimes you just hope for the best," said Smith, 27, a Scottish-Canadian international who played well in his debut despite a calf cramp in the second half. "On another day that goes in the back of the net. Today we had a bit of luck." That was about the only chance the Whitecaps managed in the second half. Vancouver goalie Jay Nolly made a diving block of Mauricio Salles' 12-yard header off a floater in front from Danny Earls, but Nolly couldn't deny the Rhinos in the 71st minute. Salles, who nearly connected on a 28-yard rip in the 60th minute, sent a pass up the left sideline to Earls and the 19-year-old whipped a left-footed cross in front. That's where Johnny Menyongar scored on a 10-yard volley inside the left post. "It wasn't anything pinpoint. I just tried to work on a bit of technique," Earls said in his thick Irish accent. "I kept me head down and Johnny was there. It was a great finish." Menyongar and Roberto are tied for second on the team in goals with three each, one behind Salles, who was handful in the second half for Vancouver. "Every player in the locker room was upset," Roberto said about halftime. "Against every team that comes here we try to do our best, get a result and try to put this team back where they deserve to be — top of the league." Roberto gave the Rhinos the insurance goal they needed in the 89th minute. Nolly came 15 yards off his line to touch a ball away from Matthew Delicate, but it squirted to Rey Martinez and he passed back to Roberto, who chipped a shot from 20 yards inside the same left post he put his first goal. Delicate and Martinez were each second-half substitutes. Rochester continues its key, three-match homestand on Friday against the Seattle Sounders. The 8 p.m. match is on Fox Soccer Channel. "Some teams have played their best against us and we're not at our best yet," Tilley said.