It’s Game Day: New York City FC are hosting Rochester NY FC in the Round of 32 of the US Open Cup. The game will be held on the plastic grass at Belson Stadium on the campus of St John’s University in Queens, which will be the sixth “home” venue this year for an itinerant NYCFC.
The NYCFC Senior Team have never faced Rochester, who play in third-tier MLS NEXT Pro, but NYCFC II and the team that should still be called the Rhinos faced off a little more than two weeks ago in league play. NYCFC II dominated possession and won the stats game, but a scrappy Rochester evened the game until a 93rd-minute time goal snatched the win for New York City.
Match: NYCFC host Rochester NY FC
Date and Time: Wednesday, May 11, 7 pm ET
Venue: Belson Stadium
Forecast: Overcast, gusty, 68˚F/20˚C
Listen: The game will be broadcast in both English and Spanish on NYCFC Radio
• NYCFC don’t exactly have a sterling record in the US Open Cup, the oldest soccer tournament in North America: New York City have just two wins in seven games played. It’s not just that they lost, it's how, and to whom. NYCFC have been knocked out twice by second-tier NY Cosmos (once on penalty kicks), twice by New Jersey Red Bulls (once by the score of 4-0), and once by Orlando City (on penalty kicks).
• Still, the early rounds in the US Open Cup can provide opportunities for emerging players to establish themselves within the squad. Keaton Parks earned a spot on the Senior Team after his performance against North Carolina FC in 2019, which was also held at Belson Stadium. Justin Haak also featured in that game — will the NYCFC II starter feature tonight, and make a case for himself?
• NYCFC have been most successful when the manager fielded a mix of up-and-comers and regular starters: That’s what Domé Torrent did in 2019, when New York City won their only two games in US Open Cup history, including a hard-fought 1-2 victory against Wayne Rooney’s DC United. How will manager Ronny Delia line up the team tonight? It might be time to play Haak, Andres Jasson, and Gedion Zelalem.
• Rochester is one of the few independent teams to play in MLS NEXT Pro. They have only one win in league play this season, and sit in eighth place in the 10-team division. Their leading scorer with two goals is the 23-year-old Wilterlynd Inalien, a product of the Portland Timbers academy.
• Rochester made it to the Round of 32 after a wild win against Clarkstown SC Eagles: After two Rochester players were shown red cards, Clarkstown tied it in the 91st minute. After playing 30 minutes of extra time with nine players, Rochester won the penalty shootout to advance.
• Established in 1996 as the Raging Rochester Rhinos, the team known as the Rochester Rhinos was rebranded in 2021 at the same time that Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy became a minority owner. A shame: The Rochester Rhinos is one of the great names in American soccer, and we hope it returns soon.
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UPDATE: The starting lineup was announced at 6:08 pm ET