Well, this is it.
After 23 MLS NEXT Pro matches in 2022, which came with all types of ups and downs, RNY FC has reached the final game of the regular season.
If you notice, I did not say “season”:all year, the club asked its supporters to “Believe Impossible”, and you have done so.
Has the belief wavered? Maybe for some, maybe not for others. But one thing is true right now: Rochester is THIS CLOSE to making the playoffs in its first season back on the pitch, and everyone involved in the undertaking has played a part.
Each home game, the biggest crowds in the Eastern Conference have come out to support this team through all types of trials and tribulations. There have been month-plus long unbeaten runs, and month-plus long winless streaks.
The support has not wavered.
There have been late goals (for and against).
The support has not wavered.
Now, with 90 minutes left, we need just one point to guarantee our playoff place, and three points from a division title.
All we have to do is play against NYCFC II like we have for so much of the campaign, and let the chips fall.
But know this: when they do fall, they are going to be in our favor, because we Believe Impossible.
MLS NEXT Pro Match Week 24
RNY FC vs. NYCFC II, Sunday, Sept. 18, 3 p.m. EDT (8 p.m. UK time), John L. DiMarco Field at Monroe Community College
Use this link to the MLS NEXT Pro site to watch the contest.
Record and place in table
RNY FC: 10-8-5, 39 points, +7 GD, second place MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference, first place Northeast Division, 5-3-3 home.
NYCFC II: 9-9-5, 35 points, +14 GD, sixth place MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference, fourth place Northeast Division, 5-4-2 away
Result in the league last match
RNY FC: defeated Toronto FC II 1-0
NYCFC II: defeated FC Cincinnati II 4-0
Result last times teams played
RNY FC won 1-0 July 16; NYCFC II won 3-2 April 23.
Next match for both teams
TBD. if either make playoffs, or season is over if no playoffs
Player to watch for RNY FC
Gibran Rayo, F: four players have four goals for Rochester, but one player on the team is well clear of everyone else, and it is Rayo. He has come up with huge goals all season, and Sunday would be a great time to get another one or two (or five).
Player to watch for NYCFC II
Jonathan Jimenez, F: he has nine goals, and scored twice Wednesday to keep New YorK City alive for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Jimenez also has three in his last three games, so RNY FC must be wary.
After so many trials and tribulations over the last six months, one of these teams is going to end their campaign outside of what has been a fantastic playoff race. If Rochester can win its fourth game in a row after five matches winless, it will take home the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Northeast Division title. It may well win the division anyway (depending on what Toronto FC II does), but why not win it in style? RNY FC wins it 2-1.