PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Rochester Rhinos clinched their 21st playoff spot in 22 years, recording a 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium Saturday.
The Rhinos, who have 47 points, improved to 12-7-11 in the United Soccer League.
Jochen Graf got the Rhinos off to a flying start, scoring just 22 seconds into the match.
Christiano Francois received the ball on the right wing and swung in a cross that Graf hit with his left foot, sending the ball into the far corner for his eighth goal this season. Francois, who has played in only 11 matches, registered his fifth assist this season.
The Haitian winger missed nearly four months after undergoing eye surgery.
Midfielder Wal Fall doubled the Rhinos’ lead in the 14th minute.
Wingback Bradley Kamdem Fewo; who left the the match in the 28th minute after picking up an injury, took a shot that bounced off a Riverhounds defender and rolled to an open Fall.
Rochester’s back line was well organized and prevented Pittsburgh from forming any hint of an attack the entire night. The Riverhounds finished the game without a shot on goal. Rhinos goalkeeper and Penfield-native Dan Lynd earned his third clean sheet of the season.
The Rhinos now return home for their come home for their final two matches of the season to face the Bethlehem Steel (Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.) and the Red Bulls II (Saturday at 6:05 p.m.) and will attempt to claim a top-4 playoff spot to host their opening round playoff matches.