USOC: Revs, Rhinos Set for 5th Round Clash

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.com

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.com

A battle of familiar U.S. Open Cup foes will take place at Stevenson Field (Providence, R.I.) on Wednesday when the New England Revolution and Rochester Rhinos face off for a fifth-round clash.

Kickoff is set for 7:30pm, with the match marking the sixth meeting between the sides since 2003. The Revolution have gotten the better of the Rhinos over the years, boasting a 3-0-2 record.

The Revolution march into the clash following a 3-2 win over the Richmond Kickers at City Stadium last Wednesday. First half goals from Stephen McCarthy, Steve Neumann and Patrick Mullins gave the Revolution a two-goal advantage at halftime before a late Richmond surge forced the MLS side to hold on for dear life up until the final whistle.

Not surprisingly, the Revolution will be looking to improve upon its defensive performance on Wednesday. McCarthy, who manned one of the center back spots last week, appears to be in line for another start. After Jose Goncalves went the full 90 in Richmond, Revolution coach Jay Heaps may slot A.J. Soares opposite of McCarthy, or perhaps platoon Andrew Farrell and Darrius Barnes in the center of the defense.

While the Revolution will be looking for improvement, the Rhinos enter Wednesday’s match brimming with confidence following their 1-0 upset win over reigning tournament champion D.C. United. In a match that was twice delayed by stormy weather, the Rhinos grabbed a 27th minute goal from Colin Rolfe and never looked back to earn the fourth-round win in front of their fans.

The task ahead of coach Bob Lilley for Wednesday’s match is certainly of the unenviable variety. Since last Tuesday’s match against D.C., the Rhinos have played a pair of league matches, including a tough 0-0 draw at Oklahoma City on Sunday. Managing minutes will be the name of the game for Lilley, who must walk a fine line between getting the most out of his men without exhausting them completely.

The winner of Wednesday’s match will advance to the Open Cup quarterfinals against the Philadelphia Union, who grabbed a 2-1 win over the New York Cosmos on Tuesday.

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About Brian O'Connell

Brian O'Connell serves as editor and staff writer at New England Soccer Today. He's also the Revolution beat writer for ESPNBoston.com, and is Officer at Large for the North American Soccer Reporters. He regularly contributes to The Associated Press, and has been featured on MLSSoccer.com & RevsNet.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianOConnell21 or contact him via e-mail at BOConnell21@aol.com