RNY FC continued its strong surge up the Eastern Conference standings on Thursday night with Bruno Baltazar’s squad outlasting TFC II 4-3 in a shootout in the MLS NEXT Pro Week 11 Game of the Week.
Although Rochester New York FC’s shutout streak came to an end at 295 minutes, the hosts jumped into fourth place after edging the Canadian visitors at Monroe Community College after the sides were level 1-1 through 90 minutes of play. Caique made four saves including a third-round stop on Stefan Karajovanovic before watching as Hugo Mbongue skied his shot in round five to seal two points for RNY FC.
TFC II goalkeeper Luka Gavran was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first half, coming up with a pair of key saves before halftime. Batiz raced in on goal in the 31st minute, but was denied by Gavran, who used his shoulder to deny the streaking winger’s high effort.
Gibran Rayo’s follow-up attempt was also repelled by Gavran as the 22-year-old kicked away the in-form attacker’s shot.
Caique kept the sides level in the 63rd minute, punching away Karajovanovic’s curling effort from point-blank range.
With both teams pushing for a winning goal, it was RNY FC who looked to have stolen all three points with Batiz making the most of a dangerous counter-attack. Edward Williams played a pass upfield after TFC II failed to keep control off of a corner kick and Batiz slotted home past Gavran for the opening goal.
It was Batiz’s second goal of the season.
TFC II came close to equalizing as Karajovanovic struck the left post in the 80th minute, leaving the visitors frustrated with minimal time left. However, TFC II equalized not long after, as Themi Antonoglou headed home Paul Rothrock’s cross from the right wing past a flat-footed Caique.
Caique denied Karajovanovic from the spot in round three, but the TFC II attacker breathed a short sigh of relief as Gavran rejected Boubacar Diallo’s attempt on the next RNY FC kick. After Pedro Dolabella propelled RNY FC back into the lead, Caique watched as Mbongue blasted his effort over the crossbar, moving the hosts past Philadelphia Union II and into fourth place on 16 points.
RNY FC next visits FC Cincinnati 2 on June 11 while TFC II hosts Philadelphia Union II on the same night.
Rochester New York FC didn’t play its best 90 minutes of the MLS NEXT Pro season on Thursday, but luckily had goalkeeper Caique come to the rescue on several occasions to keep their unbeaten run going.
Caique made four saves including one in the 4-3 shootout result, helping RNY FC move into the top four of the Eastern Conference. The 24-year-old has been one of the better shot-stoppers in MLS NEXT Pro this season and his heroics at Monroe Community College on Thursday night was just another prime example of his long-term impact in the squad.
Caique has featured in all nine of RNY FC’s league matches this season, which is the most by any goalkeeper to date this season. The Brazilian–born goalkeeper has conceded only 11 goals, while ranking in the top-five for saves (27) and clean sheets (3).
RNY FC could’ve walked away with a much more convincing result on Thursday night, but while the offense struggled to make the most of its chances, Caique stood tall on the other end of the field, keeping TFC II at bay and almost coming up with his fourth clean sheet of the campaign.
Rochester New York FC remains one of the best defensive units in MLS NEXT Pro and with Caique delivering key moments when needed, Bruno Baltazar’s squad will be a tough one to break down heading into the dog days of summer.