Rochester NY FC had all the makings for a tremendous inaugural MLS NEXT Pro home match match with a sellout crowd and a brace from forward Wilterlyn Inalien. NYCFC II played the spoilers, though, as Jonathan Jimenez netted a second-half brace to help Matt Pilkington’s side fight back to claim a 3-2 result at Monroe Community College, giving New York City FC II its second consecutive win.

Rochester New York FC was gifted an early opportunity in the match after NYCFC II’s Pedro Elias was whistled for a handball in the box. Inalien stepped up and blasted home the spot kick into the bottom-left corner for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead for the hosts.

NYC II fought back before halftime to tie things up as Stephen Turnbull’s volley at the back post nestled into the bottom corner in the 32nd minute. Nicholas Benalcazar’s dangerous cross from outside of the box found Turnbull open in the box, before the right back did the rest to celebrate his first goal of the season.

The offensive pressure for NYC II continued into the second half and eventually led to a 2-1 lead for the visitors. Jimenez’s deflected shot in the box left Caique watching as the ball rolled into the bottom-right corner.

Rochester New York FC did not lie down though, battling its way back to tie things up at 2-2. Milan Vanacker set up Inalien in the 65th minute, before the former Portland Timbers academy player hit a low drive that deflected into the bottom-left corner.

With both teams pushing for a winner, it was Jimenez who played the hero by scoring his second goal of the night. The 20-year-old was played into a good position by John Denis, before rifling a shot down the middle of Caique’s goal.

NYC II’s defense withstood stoppage time pressure from RNY FC, hanging on for an important road victory. Caique finished the match with four saves for Bruno Baltazar’s side while Pol Rodriguez made one save for the winners. 

RNY FC remains at Monroe Community Stadium in Week 6, facing off with Orlando City B on April 29.

NYCFC II remains on the road in Week 6, traveling to face Philadelphia Union II at Subaru Park on April 30.

The Story: Jimenez’s pressure pays off

Jonathan Jimenez found it tough to deliver goals during the early stages of his professional career, but it looks like the 24-year-old is hitting his stride with NYCFC II.

Jimenez now has three goals in MLS NEXT Pro this season, after scoring twice in Saturday’s thrilling 3-2 victory. Jimenez only had one goal to his name after previous stints with the Portland Timbers’ Under-23 team and USL Championship side Rio Grande Valley FC.

However, since joining NYCFC II, Jimenez has been unleashed by Head Coach Matt Pilkington, creating chances for himself and his teammates. Jimenez led all players in Saturday’s win with four shots in total and three shots on goal, while also chipping in two key passes in the final third.

After getting a bit of luck for his first goal of the match, Jimenez showed his awareness in the box for the winning tally, confidently stroking a right-footed shot down the middle of Caique’s goal. Jimenez is now tied for the team lead with John Denis with three goals apiece in this inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season, and has helped NYCFC II increase its season total to 15 through four matches played. 

With Jimenez and Denis leading the attack, NYCFC II will be a tough side to keep out of goal as the regular season schedule pushes forward.