Originally posted to Voyageurs Soccer Talk message board.
Game Report from Rochester Democrat and Chronicle...and the Road Trip
Bring on the Thunder
Rhinos head to A-League finals thanks
By Jeff DiVeronica
Democrat and Chronicle
(September 25, 2000) -- For three seasons,
Craig Demmin has saved the
Rhinos by keeping balls out of the net.
Last night, he did
it by putting one in.
Locked in a scoreless tie in the 80th
fighting for their playoff lives
against gritty Toronto, Demmin scored
first goal as a Rhino. His leaping header off
free-kick cross to the far
post gave Rochester a 1-0 win and sent
Rhinos to a third straight A-League
Championship Game and fourth in
"That's why he's our MVP," injured team
Tanner said about Demmin
in a boisterous Rhinos locker room.
three-time Eastern Conference champion Rhinos (21-9-3) will play
three-time champs from the West, the Minnesota Thunder (24-5-4),
title for the third consecutive year. The match is at 8:05 p.m.
Frontier Field, where the Rhinos are 17-1.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m.
today. Season-ticket holders have until 5
p.m. Wednesday to buy their
The Rhinos beat Minnesota 3-1 at Frontier in 1998, but the
returned the favor last year, winning 3-1 on its own home
Without Demmin's first goal since 1997 when he played in
Miss., fourth-seeded Rochester might not have survived No. 7 Toront
made it to Saturday night.
"A player under pressure elevates his
game, and sometimes you find an
unusual player doing an extraordinary thing,"
coach Pat Ercoli said of
Demmin, the hulking, 6-foot-2, 200-pound native of
Trinidad and Tobago
who has been voted Rhinos MVP by his teammates in all
three of his
Demmin sure elevated on the goal. He was
about 10 yards out and just
wide of the left post and soared above two
defenders and teammate
Eduardo Sebrango. The ball slipped just below the
crossbar and above
goalkeeper Theo Zagar.
"The ball was struck well
and stayed in the air to give me some time,"
"He jumped three feet above them."
Zavala (four assists) said the ball is
usually supposed to go to the near
post and someone is supposed to head it to
the back post. "You have to
switch if off sometimes," said Zavala, a halftime
substitute for Tim Hardy
at left defender. "Obviously, with Craig up there it
"You've been saving that for three years for when it really
defender Scott Schweitzer said, teasing Demmin.
wanted to go forward earlier in the game. The Rhinos
desperately needed a
goal. A scoreless tie would have meant 30 minutes
of sudden-death overtime.
If the Lynx (16-12-5) managed to keep OT
scoreless, they would have won the
two-game, total-goal series because
they had more home goals based on
Friday's 1-1 tie in Canada.
"I was itching to go up sooner," said Demmin,
who knew without 6-3
forward Onandi Lowe, who was suspended for the match but
Saturday, the Rhinos lacked one of their aerial
Schweitzer, of all people -- Schweitzer will admit he's not
playing if safe -- told Demmin to wait until the last 20 minutes
going up. "I felt we really needed me up there," he said.
definitely deserves (the praise)," Zavala said of the Rhinos' quiet,
leader who has been wearing the captain's armband in
The Rhinos had already hit two crossbars -- Ernest
Inneh on a header in
the first half and Bill Sedgewick on a 20-yard blast in
the 76th minute.
They began to flood the Toronto zone and took nine corner
kicks in the
second half, but couldn't score.
"Our blood started
racing and the fans got more into it," goalie Scott
Fatigue was setting in for Toronto, which had the thinner roster,
Rochester still needed a spark.
"I thought we'd go to OT because
that's how it has gone this year. We've
had to fight for everything,"
But fittingly their MVP rose to the
"Honestly, scoring the goal doesn't mean as much as winning,"
said. "And having the chance to win another
Posted on Sep 25 2000, 7:41 AM
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