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How good was the month of May for RNY FC in MLS NEXT Pro?

Well, how about four matches, four wins, 12 points, and 13 goals?

Pretty good, correct?

Right now, Rochester is more than pretty good: it is now the hottest team in the league, taking its four-game winning streak into June after a dominant 4-0 win over the team that had the best record in MLS NEXT Pro, Columbus Crew 2.

RNY FC got two goals from Gibran Rayo–one in each half– and one each from Ian Garrett and Gabriel Costa to leave Columbus’ seven-game winning streak in tatters. Rochester scored seconds after first and second half hydration breaks, and despite the hosts holding a possession advantage, RNY FC peppered the Crew 2 net with 10 shots on goal to move to 4-3-1 on the 2022 campaign. In its four May matches, RNY FC outscored its opponents 13-2, and now has kept two-straight clean sheets.

From the start Sunday at Historic Crew Stadium, both teams stated their intentions to play on the front foot. Both RNY FC and Columbus had very good early chances that could have resulted in the opening goal, but it was Rayo who got the first in the 23rd minute, thanks to an assist from an unexpected source. Keeper Caique played a clearance over the top straight down the middle of the pitch that Rayo got on the end of and finished past Crew 2 GK Patrick Schulte. It gave the visitors a 1-0 lead that they would take into the intermission.

It did not take long for RNY FC to reestablish its dominance in the second half, and Garrett gave the visitors a 2-0 lead with a beautifully-taken goal in the 62nd minute. He took a pass at the corner of the box and cut towards goal, before firing low to the far post into the side netting.

Nine minutes later, all three points looked to have been locked up as Rayo scored his second of the game, and RNY FC’s third. An outside of the foot pass from Garrett set Preston Popp free, and the substitute cut it back to the six for Rayo to tap in and make it 3-0. Costa then made it 4-0 with a deft chip from 30 yards for what might have been the pick of the bunch, and it put the finishing touches on a fantastic month.

Rochester now has 14 points after a slow start to the season, which now seems like ages ago: after the first two losses in the first eight days of the campaign, this team has turned the corner, and is now a serious threat to make the top playoffs as one of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference.

But maybe the bar now has to be set much higher: this is a squad that just put on a clinic against a team that had not lost in two months, and is clicking at both ends of the pitch. The goals are flying in, and now 10 different players have found the scoresheet for RNY FC so far in league play. Caique has been immense in net, coming up with big saves at key moments to keep Rochester in games or in the lead, and the players in front of the big Brazilian have shut down opposing attackers with aplomb.

Now, as the calendar turns to June, RNY FC has four more games–plus two more in the first week of July–to pick up points against some of the teams that are around them in the playoff race. If Rochester keeps playing like this, it might be climbing ever-higher in the Eastern Conference table heading into the dog days of summer.

Playoffs? Yes, but we want more. We want silverware, and we are starting to believe that the impossible is now becoming possible, probable, and maybe even inevitable. 

That is what winning streaks do, right? 

NEXT GAMES

RNY FC: Thursday, June 2 vs. Toronto FC II, 7 p.m. EDT (12 a.m. UK time) at MCC

Columbus Crew 2: Saturday, June 4 at Chicago Fire II, 8 p.m. EDT at SeatGeek Stadium