RNY FC was just minutes away from extending its unbeaten streak to six matches last weekend, with a chance to pick up an extra point in penalties, when disaster struck.
Nicholas Markanich, who had been quiet for the first hour of the match for FC Cincinnati 2, was played in on Rochester keeper Caique Luiz Santos da Purificação, and deftly chipped it over the big Brazilian to end the streak at five in one moment.
When you play games on the edge, that happens sometimes: one moment of brilliance can undo so much work. Rochester had so many chances to score earlier in the contest, any which could have led to a relatively easy victory if taken.
But they were not, Markanich took his, and now RNY FC has to go on the road to Gillette Stadium to face MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference second place side New England Revolution 2.
Now, if you want to talk about teams living on the edge, then the Revs are your research case. They have picked up 24 points in 12 matches with a +2 goal difference. From the first day of May until today, New England has been outscored seven goals to six in seven games: the Revs picked up 15 points and won five of those games, four of which (all in May, by the way) came with identical 1-0 scorelines.
So, when they win, they tend to keep teams off the scoresheet. Who knew that was the plan to winning soccer matches? Seriously, though, the Revs scored eight goals in their first three games, which all came more than two months ago in late March and April. Since then, teams that have posted multiple goals–Columbus Crew 2 and Inter Miami CF II–have won both games.
So all RNY FC has to do is score a couple goals, maybe a few, and it comes away with the win, right? That is what the stats say, but games are not played on paper.
You see, if you look at the statistics from the first time these two teams played on April 3, and you did not look at the scoreline first, you would have thought Rochester would have won the contest. But the 3-1 scoreline proved otherwise.
RNY FC has a chance to pick up some points here, IF it can find the back of the net.
That is always the case, though, right?
Goals change games: after a phenomenal May, RNY FC has scored just once in its last 180-plus minutes. Who is going to step up Saturday and get the big goal to kick start another run?
MLS NEXT Pro Match Week 13
New England Revolution II vs. RNY FC, 7 p.m. EDT (1 a.m. UK time), Gillette Stadium
Use this link to the MLS NEXT Pro site to watch the contest.
Record and place in table
New England Revolution II: 7-2-2, 24 points, +2 GD, 2nd in Eastern Conference, 1st in Northeast Division, 5-1-0 at home.
RNY FC: 4-4-2, 16 points, +5 GD, 4th in Eastern Conference, 3rd in Northeast Division, 2-3-1 on road.
Result in the league last match
New England Revolution II: defeated Orlando City B 2-1.
RNY FC: lost to FC Cincinnati 2 1-0.
Next match for both teams
New England Revolution II: at Chicago Fire, Sunday, June 26, 5 p.m. EDT, SeatGeek Stadium
RNY FC: vs. Columbus Crew 2, Friday, June 24, 7 p.m. EDT (12 a.m. UK time), Monroe Community College
Player to watch for New England Revolution II
Michel Costa da Silva, MF: this is a team that has climbed up to second in the table thanks to its play in the midfield and back four. The Revs won four 1-0 games in May, and are 7-2-2 despite a +2 goal difference. Costa da Silva has been pivotal at both ends, scoring the winners and also shutting down opponents. He got the opener in the 3-1 victory over RNY FC way back on April 3, and should be the key piece that Rochester is trying to slow down Saturday night.
Player to watch for RNY FC
Pedro Dolabella, MF: with the Revs flooding the midfield, it is going to be imperative that Dolabella, Bubacar Boi Djaló, and the other RNY FC midfielders stay disciplined all evening. One or two lapses could be disastrous. On the offensive end of the pitch, Rochester is going to need its best player to make, and take, any chances that arise from open play. RNY FC actually created 22 shots in April, and the visitors will need to make them count.
This is a tough spot for RNY FC, after the late 1-0 loss last weekend to FC Cincinnati 2. New England Revolution 2 just does not allow a lot of goals, but in the midst of those four 1-0 wins in May, there was a 4-0 clunker to Columbus as well. The Revs also just lost 2-0 to Inter Miami CF II, and do not like to play from behind. If RNY FC can find an early goal, it could prove decisive. RNY FC 2-1.