After five weeks without a loss in MLS NEXT Pro play, RNY FC now has to try to figure out how to get a win.
Rochester fell 2-1 in the Lake Ontario Derby Friday night at John L. DiMarco Field, and now is without a win in a month (three matches) dating back to July 15. But there is still some good news: NYCFC II and Inter Miami CF II both dropped points on the match day, so RNY FC is still in the top four of the table.
Rochester is currently sitting in fourth place of the Eastern Conference table, which is still inside the playoffs if the season ended today. The problem is, there are now six teams that are within four points of each other, from second place Toronto FC II (32) to seventh place Philadelphia Union II (28).
There is some more good news for Rochester fans: RNY FC has six matches left in the 2022 season, and five of them are against teams in that scrum for three playoff spots. Rochester will take on Orlando City B Wednesday, then will head to Miami for a weekend clash with Romeo Beckham and Inter Miami CF II.
What happened Friday night? While RNY FC had the edge in possession and passing stats, the hosts could only muster two shots on target all night. They also spent much of the game trying to claw back into it after they allowed a 14th minute goal to Nakye Greenidge-Duncan.
It took until the 68th minute for Gibran Rayo to pull RNY FC even at 1-1 with his 11th goal of the campaign. But like they did in the last match (1-1 draw with Chicago Fire II), Rochester could not keep the momentum for long. Toronto FC II picked up the winner just eight minutes later (it took Chicago six minutes to tie the contest last week) through super sub Reshaun Walkes, who came off the bench for the second week in a row to score a pivotal goal and win his team all three points.
With the win, Toronto leapfrogged RNY FC up to second in the table, and the two teams will play another pivotal contest on September 17 in Canada on the penultimate weekend of the MLS NEXT Pro campaign.
For now, Rochester has to find a way to turn the goal spigot back on: after scoring six goals in its first two July games, RNY FC has just three in its last four.
Can Rochester find a way to pick up some points in Florida? The top four fight might just depend on it.
RNY FC: at Orlando City B, Wednesday, August 17, 7 p.m. EDT (12 a.m. UK time), Osceola Heritage Park.
Toronto FC II: vs. FC Cincinnati 2, Sunday, August 21, 7 p.m. EDT, York Lions Stadium.