SEATTLE – Scott Palguta yelled as he was mobbed by his teammates. It had to be part celebration and part frustration.
Palguta’s goal in the 90th minute salvaged a 1-1 tie for the Rhinos on Wednesday night in Seattle, ending the Rochester’s four-match scoreless streak and its season-opening five-match road trip on a positive note heading into Saturday’s home opener.
The Rhinos (0-3-2) play the Charleston (S.C.) Battery (3-1-2) at 7:35 p.m. at PAETEC Park.
“The team belief and fight and the battle from the beginning, I couldn’t be more pleased with how our guys didn’t stop until the last minute,” new coach Darren Tilley said after a tie that felt like a win.
“The team spirit is really high now. I know all the players are excited for Saturday, playing for a new owner, a new coach and playing for our fans — old and new.”
Seattle (1-1-3) had gone ahead in the 77th minute on Zach Scott’s 12-yard header off a corner kick. Scott lost his defender and nodded it inside the far post.
But Rochester didn’t give in.
Palguta’s goal was a 15-yard volley off Johnny Menyongar’s corner kick. Forward Mauricio Salles sent Menyongar’s long corner back across and Palguta, a fourth-year Rhino, pounded it for only his third career goal.
“His technique was absolutely brilliant it to put it in from there,” Tilley said. “Scott has been an absolute giant for us on this trip.”
Seattle almost broke the Rhinos’ spirit in stoppage time, but goalie Scott Vallow made a diving save on the right post. It was just one of a handful of opportunities that the defending USL First Division champions failed to convert.
Sebastien LeToux had a breakaway in the 72nd minute, but Vallow came out to cut down the angle and LeToux missed a foot wide of the left post. Menyongar had a look in the 79th, but goalie Chris Eylander made a diving save.