How good was RNY FC last time out in MLS NEXT Pro action?
If you missed the match, or the game story (read the recap here), Rochester played its best game of the early season in a 4-1 victory over Inter Miami CF II. It was nearly a flawless contest for RNY FC, which has looked better nearly every time out on the pitch since late March.
But now, the fun begins: Rochester, with its two-game winning streak in the league, gets a chance to show over the next two months just how much it has improved since the 2022 season started.
Saturday night, the Northeast Division leaders, Philadelphia Union II, come into town for the first of two trips to Northern New York in the next seven games. The Union have a very talented squad, and have lost just once in seven games, trailing only Columbus Crew II (RNY FC’s next opponent) in the Eastern Conference standings.
This is just the first of an eight-game gauntlet for Rochester, which dates through July 16, that should start to shake out the standings in the Eastern Conference. The thing about playing the top teams, though, is that if a team stays hot and keeps winning, all of sudden, it could be right in the mix near the top of the table. Just look at what Nottingham Forest did in the EFL Championship: one point from its first seven games (0-6-1), dead last in the table, and then lost six matches from that point on and will be playing at Wembley in the Playoff Final to return to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years.
It is not how you start the season: it is how you react to that start, make adjustments, and then win games.
Rochester has done that over the last month, playing some very good games even in defeats. Now, RNY FC will get a chance to keep climbing up that table.
Of course we think we will be there in September fighting for a playoff berth: we have believed impossible, and have started making the possible, probable.
This should be a good one Saturday.
MLS NEXT Pro Match Week 9
RNY FC vs. Philadelphia Union II, 6 p.m EDT (11 p.m. U.K.), Monroe CC
Use this link to the MLS NEXT Pro site to watch the contest.
Record and place in table
RNY FC: 2-3-1, 8 points, -1 GD, 7th in Eastern Conference, 5th in Northeast Division, 1-1 at home.
Phila. Union II: 4-1-2, 15 points, +4 GD, 2nd in Eastern Conference, 1st in Northeast Division, 1-0-2 on road.
Result in the league last match
RNY FC: defeated Inter Miami CF II 4-1.
Philadelphia Union II: defeated Orlando City B 1-0.
Next match for both teams
RNY FC: at Columbus Crew II, Sunday, May 29, 2 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. EDT)
Philadelphia Union II: at New England Revolution II, Friday, May 27, 7 p.m. EDT
Player to watch for Philadelphia Union II
Paxton Aaronson, MF: yes, you have heard the last name before in regards to the Union: Aaronson is the younger brother (18-years-old) of current Red Bull Salzburg, and team USA, star Brenden Aaronson. He may be soon following in the footsteps of his older sibling and making his way to Europe, but for now, Aaronson has been terrorizing teams in MLS NEXT Pro. He is going to be a huge test for RNY FC.
Player to watch for RNY FC
Pedro Dolabella, MF: why Dolabella? As stated above, this is going to be a huge test for Rochester. Unlike next weekend, though, the Union II defense has been breached for nine goals in seven matches. Philly has scored 13 times as well, so the midfield is going to be the key battlefield Saturday night. Dolabella might be the best box-to-box midfielder in the league, so he could be able to pull out some magic against his younger opponents.
This is a pivotal contest for both teams, who each head into the teeth of their schedules over the next six weeks. They both play the teams that sit near the top of the Eastern Conference table, but it might be more important for RNY FC. With matches on the road at Columbus Crew II, FC Cincinnati II, and New England Revs II, plus home games against Toronto FC II, Columbus, and Philadelphia (again), Rochester needs to build on the two-straight MLS NEXT Pro victories. RNY FC gets a draw, 2-2, then wins in penalties to take an extra point onto the road.