Week 21 of MLS NEXT Pro action begins with the Game of the Week as Rochester New York FC hosts Toronto FC II at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York. The action is set to kick off at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.
TFC II enters this week riding a three-game winning streak and an eight-match unbeaten run. Despite the Canadian side being in incredible form, the team still trails RNY FC by one point in the Eastern Conference standings. A road win this week would be massive for the club as it moves the team up the table and closer to a playoff berth.
RNY FC, on the other hand, is currently third in the East after having a five-match unbeaten run of its own a few weeks prior. However, with the season dwindling down several clubs are still vying for a playoff spot and looking to overtake RNY FC in the standings. Three points this week at home seem like a must for RNY FC if the club plans to compete in the playoffs.
How to watch
This and every match will be available to stream live and free of charge on MLSNEXTPro.com.
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Scorching hot only scratches the surface on describing Toronto FC II’s current form.
The club sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference following a 3-0 win over Orlando City B last week. With the win, TFC II is now on a three-game winning streak and is unbeaten in its last eight matches.
Forward Reshaun Walkes scored a brace and midfielder Julian Altobelli netted his fifth goal of the season. Prior to that, midfielder Paul Rothrock scored a brace of his own in a 2-0 win over New England Revolution II.
Yeah, the TFC II squad is deep as five players have three or more goals this season. Look for that depth to come into play as the club fights to maintain a playoff spot with only seven games remaining.
Players to Watch:
Paul Rothrock, midfielder - The 23-year-old has been a key player all season for TFC II as the midfielder has five goals and five assists. Look for Rothrock to run the show in midfield if TFC II is to walk away with an important road win.
Julian Altobelli, forward - Similarly, Altobelli has been racking up the goals lately and has five goals this season. With his side being in stellar form, the 19-year-old will have his chances to net a goal in consecutive matches.
Reshaun Walkes, forward - Walkes scored two of his three goals this season last week against Orlando City B. The forward is currently racking up the goals, but can his form in front of goal continue?
Don’t sleep on Rochester New York FC as a contender to win it all in the Eastern Conference.
The club is currently third in the standings after a 1-1 deadlock with Chicago Fire II that ended in a close 5-4 shootout win for the team from Chicago. Prior to that, RNY FC’s five-match unbeaten run was snapped by FC Cincinnati 2 in a 2-0 loss.
RNY FC’s last two results might not have been ideal, but the side is still in the mix for a playoff berth in the East. The team is tied at 30 points with NYCFC II in the standings and is only above several other teams by a few points, which includes a one-point lead over TFC II.
Safe to say winning at home this week is a must for the team if it hopes to maintain its playoff spot as the season winds down.
Players to Watch:
Gibran Rayo, forward - Rayo has been a star for RNY FC as the 20-year-old has 10 goals and 3 assists so far this season. If RNY FC is to win at home, Rayo has to step up when his side needs him the most.
Pedro Dolabella, midfielder - Right behind Rayo in the RNY FC pecking order is Dolabella who has four goals and four assists. Look for the midfielder to be in and around the goals either scoring them or setting them up for RNY FC.
Witlerlynd Inalien, forward - Three goals and two assists in 11 matches is nothing to gloss over. The 23-year-old will have to answer the call in the RNY FC frontline against a sturdy TFC II defense.