RNY FC secures playoff qualification in regular-season finale

RNY FC clinched a berth in the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro playoffs Sunday afternoon in a 2-2 draw against NYCFC II at Monroe Community College. 

NYCFC II is now eliminated from postseason contention following the result, as they needed three points and a sequence of results from around the league for a chance at a playoff berth. RNY FC ends the day as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Empire State rivals swapped wins in their two previous matchups and ended the regular season with a fitting back-and-forth contest.

NYCFC II opened the scoring thanks to Jonathan Jimenez – his third goal in his two matches. However, shortly into the second half, RNY FC equalized through Pedro Dolabella.

NYCFC II leading scorer John Denis added his 14th goal of the season to bring the away side ahead from the penalty spot in the 68th minute following a Caique foul in the box.

Just three minutes later, though, RNY FC was awarded a penalty kick of their own and Gibran Rayo smashed it home.

An incredible double-save from RNY FC goalkeeper Caique in the 89th minute kept the two sides level as the final whistle neared, with the regulation time period ending at 2-2. The two sides headed to kicks from the spot to decide who would claim the additional point, and NYCFC II outlasted its in-state rival 5-4.

The story: 

With playoff qualification now secured, RNY FC can look ahead to their postseason run. However, failure to claim three points or a shootout victory against NYCFC II has proved costly for Bruno Balatzar’s side. Going into Decision Day, RNY FC was sitting comfortably as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and the aim on Sunday was to hang onto that status.

A shootout win would have seen RNY FC head on the road to take on TFC II in the opening round of the playoffs, but with only one point claimed on the day, RNY FC will instead head to the Ohio capital for an opening battle with Columbus Crew 2.