Rocha finally makes the playoffs
The irony was not lost on Tony Rocha.
About a half-hour after New York City’s win over the Whitecaps, the San Jose Earthquakes finished up a tidy 3-0 home victory against Orlando City – a result that clinched NYCFC’s fourth consecutive playoff berth.
Orlando City SC and New York City FC joined MLS together in 2015, and the team from the south has never qualified for the postseason. The Lions are sitting ninth in the East and in jeopardy of failing to attain a playoff berth again — the top seven teams advance.
Rocha played his first three MLS seasons in Orlando.
“I think the guys were just joking with me because it’s my first playoff, but it feels good,” Rocha said. “I don’t want to talk about those guys [Orlando City]. I still have a couple of friends on that team so I don’t want to say anything bad about them.”
The Texas native appeared in 23 matches with 11 starts for the Lions from 2016-18. Without fanfare, New York City acquired Rocha from Orlando City in exchange for a fourth-round selection in the MLS SuperDraft.
Rocha has been a valuable reserve and spot starter. He replaced the suspended Ring against Vancouver and now has six starting assignments among his 12 appearances. He has performed with quality in the midfield, at fullback and in central defense.
“I don’t really think about that,” Rocha said. “Wherever Dome puts me I just go out there and play and hopefully help the team win.”
The good work has earned Rocha a call-up to the Belize men’s national team for a pair of Concacaf Nations League matches this week. The Jaguars play French Guayana Thursday and Grenada Sunday.