Yes, Caíque Luiz Santos da Purificação might be the best goalkeeper in MLS NEXT Pro.
He might be the best keeper on the planet for all we know: that is the way it seems to RNY FC fans watching him dominate at the end of game spot kicks in what seems like game after game, and week after week.
But Rochester drawing every week and relying on penalty victories does not seem like a sustainable way to make the top four, and consequently, the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs. At some point, the goals are going to have to return, along with all three points: after all, that is how RNY FC catapulted up the table into the top four during the month of May.
After scoring 13 goals in May, the goals dried up in June: Rochester scored just twice in four games, but picked up six points, thanks to three draws and three penalty wins.
So now July starts with Military and First Responders Night at Monroe Community College, as RNY FC takes on Orlando City B for the first time this season. Orlando City B had zero points on the road before the last match, then went to FC Cincinnati 2 and dominated on the counter attack for a 3-1 victory. The visitors will not come in scared, that is for sure; especially with the way their forward phenom, Jack Lynn, has been playing. He is going to create major problems for the back line if RNY FC allows to run wild: Lynn has 23 shots in his last six matches, 15 of which have been on target, with eight of them hitting the back of the net. He was, of course, the number 18 pick in the MLS SuperDraft this February out of Notre Dame.
It should be a very interesting night on the pitch at John L. DiMarco Field.
Can Rochester turn the goal-scoring tap back on for July? With five MLS NEXT Pro games, including four at home, you would hope so. The playoffs could be on the line.
MLS NEXT Pro Match Week 14
RNY FC v Orlando City B, 7 p.m. EDT (12 a.m. UK time), Monroe Community College
Use this link to the MLS NEXT Pro site to watch the contest.
Record and place in table
RNY FC: 4-4-4, 20 points, +5 GD, 4th in Eastern Conference, 3rd in Northeast Division, 2-1-2 at home.
Orlando City B: 3-6-3. -3 GD, 8th in Eastern Conference, 3rd in Central Division, 1-5-0 on the road.
Result in the league last match
RNY FC: drew 0-0 with Columbus Crew 2, won 4-2 on penalties to earn an extra point.
Orlando City B: won 3-1 at FC Cincinnati 2.
Next match for both teams
RNY FC: vs. Philadelphia Union 2, Thursday, July 7, 7 p.m. EDT (12 a.m. UK time), Monroe Community College
Orlando City B: vs. Inter Miami CF 2, Sunday, July 10, 7 p.m. EDT, Osceola Heritage Park
Player to watch for RNY FC
Will Inalien, F: someone is going to have to start scoring goals for this Rochester team, which scored 13 MLS NEXT Pro goals in May in four games, then scored just two in June in four matches. That was the difference between 12 points and six: and three of those points came via three spot kick wins. Yes, Caique is unbeatable. No, that is not sustainable. Inalien should be rounding back into form now after his injury, and could be poised for a big July.
Player to watch for Orlando City B
Jack Lynn, F: not the hardest opposition player to pick here. Lynn is tearing up MLS NEXT Pro right now with 10 goals, and eight of them have come in his last six games, when he is not up with the MLS team. He is a stud, and is going to be looking to extend his scoring run against one of the best defenses in the league.
Lynn is probably going to find the net at some point in the game if he plays: that is his business, and business is booming. But Orlando City B has been very poor on their travels until last game against last place FC Cincinnati B: before that win last time out, Orlando had been outscored 13-2 on the road. This is a big spot for RNY FC to go back into third place ahead of Thursday’s key clash, and Rochester needs to get back on track on the offensive end. Look for that to happen in a 2-1 win.