Without the MLS NEXT Pro’s top goalscorer in Jacen Russell-Rowe and the league’s leading assist man Mohamed Farsi, both of whom were loaned up to the first team for the trip to Real Salt Lake, Columbus Crew 2 traveled to take on Rochester New York FC, looking for revenge for a loss earlier in the year. For the first time this season, Crew 2 ended a game in a stalemate and, after a 0-0 draw through 90 minutes, went to a penalty kick shootout, ultimately losing 4-2.
In addition to being without two key players, Crew 2 also missed head coach Laurent Courtois, as he did not travel with the team to Rochester after being placed in MLS NEXT Pro health and safety protocols.
In MLS NEXT Pro, games cannot end in a tie. If the score is tied after 90 minutes, the game goes straight to a penalty shootout. Like in the National Hockey League, both teams receive a point, with the winner of the shootout getting an additional point. Until Friday night, the Black & Gold had not dealt with such a situation in a match in their inaugural season.
Columbus started the game slowly, as Rochester dominated the opening 10 minutes. Eleven minutes into the match, RNYFC had the home team’s first big chance, forcing Crew 2 goalkeeper Brady Scott into an important save. Scott was called upon multiple times throughout the match and came up with big save after big save, finishing the match with five stops in regulation.
Three minutes after the Scott save, Rochester found the back of the net, but the goal was called back for a foul in the buildup prior to the finish.
The first big chance for Crew came in the 21st minute. Forward Noah Fuson looked to capitalize on a Rochester defensive mistake, but RNYFC was able to clear the ball.
Rochester found the back of the net again in the 28th minute, but, like the first one, this goal was ruled out, this time for an offside leading to the strike.
The best chance of the first half came less than two minutes later, as the Black & Gold had the ball in front of the net, but could not put it in the goal.
It was a midfield battle for the remainder of the first half, with few chances coming for either team. The two sides went to the halftime locker room tied at 0-0.
The second half was favorable to the hosts, as Rochester created most of the chances over the final 45 minutes. Scott had to make multiple saves, including two from point-blank range.
The best chance of the match went to RNYFC in the dying minutes. After a missed clearance in the 87th minute, a Rochester attacker rounded Scott but put the ball into the side netting.
In the shootout, the Black & Gold made the first moment of note, as Scott saved the first Rochester penalty, followed by captain Marco Micaletto slotting home his shot from the spot for Columbus. Crew 2, however, missed the following two penalties, allowing Rochester to get a stranglehold on the shootout. The home side did not miss again the rest of the way, winning the shootout 4-2.
The Black & Gold will next be in action next weekend as they welcome Philadelphia Union II to Historic Crew Stadium on July 2. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET All MLS NEXT Pro matches can be streamed live at mlsnextpro.com.