Photo courtesy Matt Wittmeyer / Rochester Rhinos
ROCHESTER. N.Y. – Steevan Dos Santos scored a fifth consecutive contest, but Ottawa Fury FC was held to a 1-1 draw by the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday night at Capelli Sport Stadium in a tense contest between the clubs. The game opened energetically, and Fury FC had the first good chance in the 14th minute as a short corner saw Carl Haworth find Steevan Dos Santos at the left post for a header that was comfortably saved by Rhinos goalkeeper Dan Lynd. Five minutes later, however, the Rhinos took the lead as a good move inside the penalty area saw Ryan James’ cross find Christiano Francois for a close-range header. Ottawa almost pulled a goal back just before halftime as a header by Dos Santos went just wide of the left post, while Rochester almost doubled its lead early in the second half as Fury FC goalkeeper Callum Irving made a good low save to deny Kenardo Forbes’ strong effort to the left corner. Jochen Graf also forced a near-post save by Irving from a tight angle on the left side of the penalty area a few minutes later. Dos Santos continued to threaten for Fury FC and had a volleyed finish well-saved by Lynd in the 69th minute. Two minutes later the former Rhino got his chance from the penalty spot after Andrae Campbell was brought down in the area, and Dos Santos slotted home into the right corner for his eighth goal of the season. Campbell then found the net, only to be ruled offside as the visitors continued to apply pressure, but the Rhinos almost grabbed the lead with eight minutes to go as Forbes’ shot missed the target high from 14 yards. Campbell again threatened for Ottawa with five minutes to go, forcing a tipped save from Lynd with a powerful shot, but neither side was able to break the deadlock late after Fury FC's Gerardo Bruna was sent off as honors ended even.
19’ – ROC – Christiano Francois (Ryan James)
71’ – OTT – Steevan Dos Santos (penalty)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Fury FC needed to earn something from its trip to Rochester on Saturday, but with the pressure the side managed in the second half to first level and then press for an equalizer Saturday’s game might feel like another missed opportunity to get a win that would have propelled the side back into the middle of the playoff race. Instead, a third consecutive draw will keep the side at least four points out of the top eight positions with six games to go in the regular season, and ratchet up the pressure on its visit to the second-place Charlotte Independence next Saturday night.
2. As tough a time as Ottawa was having in finding a way back into the game, Steevan Dos Santos consistently looked like he might be the team’s trump card in the end. The Cape Verde forward had four of the team’s first five shots in the contest, and could have found the net before he notched a goal in his fifth consecutive game with a penalty kick with 19 minutes to go. A USL Cup champion with the Rhinos two seasons ago, Dos Santos leads Fury FC this season with eight goals, making a strong impression in his first season for Fury FC.
3. Christiano Francois was a bright prospect coming out of the University of Maryland four years ago, but after bouncing around a little after his time with D.C. United he appears to have become a good piece for the Rhinos after emerging in recent outings. The Haitian already had three assists in his seven appearances this season, and on Saturday in addition to scoring his first goal from the club on a great buildup in the right side of the penalty area, he proved a live wire throughout. Now in third place in the Eastern Standings, Francois could be a key piece as Rochester looks to cement its position down the stretch.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Andrae Campbell, Ottawa Fury FC – Campbell was strong throughout down the left side, winning the penalty kick that provided Fury FC’s equalizer and almost stealing the victory with a fierce late effort.
Rochester Rhinos at Pittsburgh Riverhounds – September 16, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium
Ottawa Fury FC at Charlotte Independence – September 16, 7 p.m. ET, Sportsplex at Matthews