So it seems a one-week trip to Florida might end up deciding the fate of the 2022 RNY FC MLS NEXT Pro campaign.
Rochester has picked up just one point from its last three league games, and is now in the middle of a wild scramble for the final three playoff spots. RNY FC is one of a few teams with six matches left in the season, while others around them have just five chances to pick up valuable points that might see them get a chance to win the first MLS NEXT Pro postseason title this fall.
The two-game trip starts at Osceola Heritage Park against Orlando City B, and it will be a rematch of a 3-2 contest on the first day of July won by Rochester. Gibran Rayo had two goals that afternoon, and now leads the team with 11.
While Rayo has been scoring for fun, as many good poachers are able to do when they get some confidence, there is a worrying stat if you are a fan of Rochester: the team has 10 goals in nine games since June 2, and Rayo has eight of those. The only two players to score over that time are Will Inalien and Lamar Batista, and one of them is a center back.
Orlando City B is in much the same situation: Jack Lynn has 14 goals, and is well clear of any of his teammates.
The last time these two teams played, both of the goal scorers found the net, and it was RNY FC, led by Rayo’s brace, that held on for three points. Will the teams find a way to neutralize the main threats, or will it be a repeat of that game?
If either team manages to keep the other’s main threat quiet, will that be the key to victory?
We shall soon see.
MLS NEXT Pro Match Week 19
Orlando City B vs. RNY FC, Wednesday, August 17, 7 p.m. EDT (12 a.m. UK time), Osceola Heritage Park
Use this link to the MLS NEXT Pro site to watch the contest.
Record and place in table
Orlando City B: 5-10-3, 20 points, -8 GD, eighth MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference, third Central Division.
RNY FC: 7-6-5, 30 points, +7 GD, fourth MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference, third Northeast Division.
Result in the league last match
Orlando City B: defeated NYCFC II 2-0
RNY FC: lost 2-1 to Toronto FC II
Result last time teams played
RNY FC won 3-2
Next match for both teams
Orlando City B: vs. Columbus Crew 2, Saturday, August 20, 7 p.m. EDT, Osceola Heritage Park
RNY FC: at Inter Miami CF II, Sunday, August 21, 7 p.m. EDT (12 a.m. UK time), DRV PNK Stadium
Player to watch for Orlando City B:
Jack Lynn, F: once again, if he is on the pitch, he is going to be dangerous. Lynn is back and forth with the MLS team, so there is a chance he does not play. He had both goals on Friday night in the 2-0 win over NYCFC, and has 14 on the campaign. Lynn IS the threat.
Player to watch for RNY FC:
Gibran Rayo, F: another game, another goal for Rayo, who now has 11 on the season. Maybe the better question now is, who is going to step up and provide a goal if Rayo does not? He has been so good, but he is really the only player scoring for Rochester.
This is a massive game for RNY FC. It might not be a must-win, but Rochester really needs to get something from the contest: three points would be optimal, but two–or even one–would not be the worst result. Who is going to find the net for RNY FC? Rayo probably does, and it might be enough to sneak a 2-1 victory.