Can RNY FC run it back one more time in the Lake Ontario Derby, and all but lock up a spot in the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs?
It is not going to be easy: Toronto FC II has proved to be a tough out in 2022. Rochester has taken two points from Toronto, while the current Northeast Division leaders beat Rochester 2-1 in August.
Yes, that is right: this game might also help determine who wins the Northeast Division (do we hang banners for that?) But more importantly, the winner almost assuredly will join Columbus in the postseason.
Three weeks ago, it looked like RNY FC’s playoff chances were dead in the water, like a boat on Lake Ontario that lost its motor. But all of a sudden, that motor kicked back on, and Rochester is back skimming across the waves of the lake, cruising towards the postseason party.
But we are not there yet: Sunday is such a massive contest. RNY FC has a chance to have some cushion heading into the final Sunday against NYCFC II, or it could come down to the final 90 minutes of the season.
Which will it be?
MLS NEXT Pro Match Week 22
Toronto FC II vs. RY FC, Sunday, Sept. 11, 3 pm. EDT (8 p.m. UK time), York Lions Stadium
Use this link to the MLS NEXT Pro site to watch the contest.
Record and place in table
Toronto FC II: 11-7-3, 38 points, +7 GD, second place MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference, first place Northeast Division, 6-2-2 at home.
RNY FC: 9-8-5, 36 points, +6 GD, third place MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference, second place Northeast Division, 4-5-2 away.
Result in the league last match
TFC II: defeated Inter Miami CF II 4-1
RNY FC: defeated
Result last times teams played
TFC II won 2-1 in Rochester on August 12, while the two teams drew 1-1 on June 2, with RNY FC taking the extra point in penalties.
Next match for both teams
Toronto FC II: vs. Inter Miami CF II, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m. EDT, York Lions Stadium
RNY FC: vs. NYCFC II, Sunday, Sept. 18, 3 p.m. EDT (8 p.m. UK time), John L. DiMarco Field at Monroe Community College
Player to watch for Toronto FC II
Reshaun Walkes, F: super-sub Walkes has all but fired Toronto into the playoffs in the last few weeks. He has four goals off the bench in his last three appearances, including the game-winner the last time these two teams played.
Player to watch for RNY FC
Ed Williams, F: he has four goals on the season, but much like Walkes, Williams has gotten hot at the end of the year when his team desperately needed a boost. Williams has two goals in the last two wins, and could prove to be the difference Sunday.
This is going to be a close one either way, as the last two Lake Ontario battles were. So much is riding on this for both teams. Toronto can lock up a spot with two matches to go, but will also know a draw is not the worst result, with games next week against Inter Miami CF II (which could be in a lot of trouble with a loss to Columbus Sunday) and Orlando City B (which has been eliminated). For RNY FC, the margin of error is more slim, but any result could be pivotal: a win would just about lock up a playoff spot. Tough call, so I will say 2-2, with RNY FC picking up an extra point in penalties.