The Rochester Rhinos appeared a team of destiny during the 2015 USL season, and they saw out that fate on Friday night, winning the USL championship 2-1 in extra time against the LA Galaxy II at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester, New York.
Substitute Asani Samuels (pictured, above) scored both goals for the hosts, the first in second-half stoppage time, to complete a season in which the Rhinos lost just once in 34 games in all competitions (22-1-11). Ariel Lassiter put LA ahead just past the hour mark, giving the second-year team hope they could defeat the favored Rhinos.
The run of play was largely even between the sides, and all three goals on the night came off set plays. After a scoreless first half, Lassiter scored first in the 65th minute, poaching a goal with a simple tap-in after a free kick was flicked onto the post. It was his fourth goal in the USL playoffs this season, best in the league.
The Galaxy II hung onto their lead until stoppage time, when Samuels headed home a corner kick to send the game to extra time. Yet another corner kick goal made the difference, as Samuels notched his second in the 113th minute.
- Check out more USL Championship coverage on USLSoccer.com
Prior to Samuels' second goal, Galaxy II goalkeeper Clément Diop was forced out of the match due to an apparent head injury, pressing 18-year-old Bennett Sneddon into action, making his professional debut in the second half of extra time.
The Rhinos, who are the USL affiliate of the New England Revolution this year, win their first USL title under the current league structure. They also won the regular-season title by a wide margin this yea, and previously won the USL A-League three times. They are also the only non-MLS team in the MLS era to win the US Open Cup.