Rocket Robin Report: Toronto FC II vs Ottawa Fury

Result and details of the Saturday July 8, 2017 USL game between Toronto FC II and Ottawa Fury played at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan at 7:30pm.

Fury Shane McEleney dribbles out of own end watched by TFC Tsubasa Endoh. Photo by Robin Glover.
Fury Shane McEleney dribbles out of own end watched by TFC Tsubasa Endoh. Photo by Robin Glover.

72 min…TFC Luca Uccello GOAL…TFC Brian James stops his own run and passes from 60 yards on left that finds Uccello running on the right at 35 yard line and he runs forward and gets shot around OF Andrae Campbell at 25 yards on right and over goalie Callum Irving at 6 yards in center of goal and ball drops into left corner of net.

93 min…OF RED card…Andrae Campbell earns his second Yellow card for tripping TFC Luca Uccello who was breaking out of TFC box with ball after frantic scramble in box.

Final Score:……Toronto FC II……1……Ottawa Fury…….0……

Attendance was announced as 1007. That was more than six times more than last Saturday night against Harrisburg City. This was the largest crowd of the season here except for the two matinee school day games packed with middle school students and the game played down at BMO Field on May 13 when they were able to hang onto just over 10% of their MLS crowd. Tonight was a warm evening but people left to get windbreakers from their cars at halftime as it was cooling off quickly.

Last week was a holiday weekend that would have cut into their numbers. Also there was no threat of rain like a week ago when there were two storms on game day. Last Saturday also had the TFC MLS team playing away in Dallas with kickoff only thirty minutes after the USL game ended. A lot of fans probably stayed home. I think the biggest rivalry was that this week’s team was Ottawa…a team new to the USL this year after a history with NASL and this year for the first time, an opponent drawn for the MLS team for the semi-final of the Canadian Championships. The Fury won the first game in Ottawa 2-1 before being overpowered 4-0 a week later in Toronto when TFC used more of their MLS lineup. Tonight’s game wouldn’t have Sebastian Giovinco coming in off the bench.

I didn’t know how many marginal MLS players might make their way into tonight’s lineup because the MLS team has the week off and their manager Greg Vanney might want to keep them sharp. Also at the other end, Toronto FC III of League 1 Ontario had a key game earlier in the day against Vaughan Azzurri (ironically youth players from Vaughan Soccer Club were the ball kids for today) so that would limit teenage players ‘brought up’ from that squad for this game. It turned out only midfielder Tsubasa Endoh (who has recently been getting some MLS minutes including starts) and little used forward Ben Spencer were their only MLS roster players. I thought I saw goalie Clint Irwin warming up in net but it must have been regular Mark Pais with Angelo Cavalluzzo as backup. Cavalluzzo shut out the Fury on April 22 in USL action in Ottawa in a 0-0 draw.

Ottawa is the only other Canadian team in the Eastern Conference so the game day staff had thirteen kids hold one large Canadian flag as they were not needed to split between two medium sized Canadian and American flags.

Man of the Match (who is always a TFC II player) was announced as Luca Uccello for the obvious reason as he scored the game’s only goal. I’d say it was between him and goalie Mark Pais who had to make some spectacular saves early to keep them in the game and late to hold on to the lead. Uccello won last week too but as I straightened up last week Anthony’s Espresso is a coffee supplier not the maker of coffee machines so it’s the coffee that’s the prize each game.

Mark Pais earned the shutout for TFC. He was always the busier man in net right from the start of the game. Fury really turned up the pressure after the TFC goal. At 75 minutes OF Steevan Dos Santos got by a falling defender at 75 minutes but couldn’t get away a shot. A minute later a goal by him was whistled down as offside. 78 minutes had OF Ryan Williams send a 35 yard freekick down the middle that Pais caught. A minute later TFC Jordan McCrary made a key header on the left side of the box to break up a play. 82 minutes had TFC Julian Dunn-Johnson chest down a ball and clear from their box. A minute later OF Lance Rozeboom crossed from the right side of the box and OF Carl Haworth couldn’t get away a shot in a mass of defenders on the left side of the box. 84 minutes had OF Gerardo Bruna chip a ball from 30 yards on the left into the box and an OF player whiffed on the ball at 8 yards and Haworth shot a low 8 yarder forward and wide left of the post but the play was flagged offside. 86 minutes had OF Andrae Campbell run into the box but the play was whistled down for him pushing down McCrary. 88 minutes had OF Sito Seoane work a ball to the right edge of the box and centered a pass to OF Sergio Manesio who did the splits to try to pass forward to Seoane from 20 yards but a defender blocked and cleared for a fast break. 93 minutes had OF Tucker Hume take a 16 yard shot up the middle that had the goalie make a huge save at 3 yards in the middle of goal to dive and push the ball to the right. Dos Santos got to the ball and his low 8 yard shot from the right was stopped by TFC Julian Dunn-Johnson at 3 yards on the right post. That same minute the OF goalie lofted a 70 yard freekick high to the edge of the box where in a crowd of players had Hume not able to get away a shot after bashing through to the 8 yard line then a defender cleared and TFC Luca Uccello was tripped up breaking out of the box by Campbell resulting in his second Yellow.

Fury had ‘goals’ at 27 minutes and 76 minutes ruled offside.

Julian Dunn-Johnson was a starting defender for TFC and played well. He is the only Canadian defender on the team and more impressive he is only age 15 and it’s tough with the team playing like their MLS parent with only three men in the back. Brandon Aubrey who was credited with an own goal last week was glued to the bench. Dunn-Johnson subbed for him at 71 minutes last week and isn’t giving up that spot yet.

Referee David Barrie gave out five Yellow cards tonight (three to the Fury—and two to Andrae Campbell). Campbell’s second which was the last play of the game was to prevent a TFC breakout with all the Fury players forward for a last minute scramble in the box and he was preventing a breakout which would have been an open space 80 yard dash downfield. I had been critical while watching a halftime 8 v 8 mini-game between kids in the center circle with no-one holding their positions. I asked a soccer mom beside me “How old are kids when they are taught to hold their positions?” Well this late scramble was one time those kids hopefully never forget.

It was another Young Reds Day (as was last week) with under age 14 fans being able to take Penalty kicks after the game if their parents signed a waiver. Players came over to the sidelines to greet the fans and sign autographs after the game unlike last week when they lost and fled as soon as the whistle blew.

Before the game I asked questions to new Fury signing Adonijah Reid who was suddenly on their roster within the last three days after being drafted by MLS FC Dallas earlier this year as a Generation Adidas player. This was a former League1 Ontario co-leading goalscorer (with Filipe Vijela of Oakville) for ANB Futbol with 20 goals in the 2015 season when he was only age 15. He is still only 17! He answered me that he is still with FC Dallas who can recall him but since they don’t have a USL team they’ve placed him with Ottawa to get more playing time.

TFC won at home for just the second time this season. They looked good at beating another fringe playoff team like when they edged Orlando City B last month. now has TFC II climbing from 0.2 % to exactly 1.0% chance for making the USL playoffs. Their record improves to 3 wins, 9 losses, 5 ties for 14 points and they climb out of the basement (fifteenth) up to fourteenth.

Fury’s record falls to 5 wins, 6 losses, 5 ties for 20 points and are tied for tenth place. Top eight earn a playoff spot.

TFC now have a weekend off before playing two in a week on the road against New York Red Bulls II and Rochester Rhinos then finish with another road game against Ottawa (their third league meeting this season—unusual based on the number of teams and games but done to build rivalries). Next home game isn’t until August 5 against the current first place Charleston Battery who beat TFC 6-1 two weeks ago.

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Robin Glover

Robin Glover

Robin has been writing about soccer in the Toronto area for message boards and his own website since the early 1990s in the days of 2400 baud modems to USENET sites. In the 2014 season he attended 76 games in various leagues that played in the GTA area.

Follow Robin on Twitter and on his website

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