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#GameDayEve Rochester Rhinos Edition

It would be totally remiss not to note that the biggest news regarding Wilmington Hammerheads FC has nothing to do with the game tomorrow. It has been reported by Scratching the Pitch, a website run by longtime USL blogger Chad Hollingsworth, that the Hammerheads will take a hiatus from USL throughout the 2017 season. In a subsequent report from Dan Spears of Star News, a Wilmington newspaper, George Altirs, the owner of Wilmington Hammerheads FC, was quoted saying "Nothing is confirmed."

At this point, the Hammerheads organization has neither confirmed nor denied the reports that the team won't be competing in 2017. What's my opinion? The fact that George Altirs said that nothing is confirmed rather than completely denying the possibility of a hiatus seems to be strong evidence that it actually could happen. If, in fact, a hiatus is a possibility, I'd like to know why before making any statements about it.

Is the team voluntarily considering a hiatus? If so, why? Is USL trying to coerce the team into sitting out for a season? If so, why? As soon as these questions are answered, I will definitely be writing more about the issue. I want to know what lies ahead for my hometown club, but I realized that the details I crave aren't available at the moment. If a hiatus would be beneficial for the long-term health of the club, I'd be willing to wait. I would be devastated if the team were to end completely, and I need more information to form any solid opinions beyond that.

There are a few certainties. Wilmington Hammerheads FC is currently competing in USL, and the club still has a chance to clinch playoff berth. Especially considering these next few months of matches could be the last ones for some time, I will be supporting my club all the way.

The latest battle on the path to the playoffs for the Hammerheads is to compete against last season's USL champions, the Rochester Rhinos. The Hammerheads and the Rhinos have both suffered disappointing losses in their last respective matches. The 1-0 defeat delivered to the Rhinos by the Richmond Kickers ended an eight-game unbeaten streak for the New York club.

The Hammerheads have a had a full week to recover from their last game, but the Rhinos played just a few days ago on Wednesday, August 3rd. Hence, tired legs could prove to be an advantage for Wilmington. For the Hammerheads, the 1-4 loss at the hands of the Pittsburg Riverhounds made the second loss by the same score in three games. Both clubs are certainly eager to make up for lost points

The Rhinos sit in 7th place with a 8-5-8 record, and the Hammerheads sit in 10th place with a 6-8-6 record. One game, eight points, and three places separate the two clubs. Rochester has tallied more goals and more wins than Wilmington. Both teams score relatively evenly between the halves. Wilmington's saves percentage is .011% higher than Rochester's, and Rochester has a significantly lower goals against average than the Hammerheads. Statistically speaking, Rocherster is certainly the better team, but tomorrow, it will be anybody's game.

Both teams need three points to make their playoff dreams reality. (If the season ended tomorrow, the Rochester Rhinos would be in a playoff clinching spot already, but, of course, the club must keep winning to stay there. The Hamerheads are two places away from a playoff clinching standing.) Tomorrow's match is certain to be an exciting one.

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