32 min…TFC Ethan Beckford GOAL…Beckford is given pass for break-in down center by TFC Dante Campbell and rolls a 22 yarder past sliding goalie into right side of net.
35 min…TFC Ethan Beckford GOAL…Beckford beats goalie Anthony Sokalski to the ball at 40 yard line, rounds him and shoots low 28 yarder up middle into open net. TFC Matthew Srbely had given Beckford a pass upfield that convinced the goalie to come that far out of his net.
40 min…TFC Nicholas Osorio GOAL…TFC Marko Mandekic gives crossfield short pass to Osorio at 22 yards and he blasts shot into top left corner.
61 min…TFC Nicholas Osorio GOAL…TFC Nikola Stakic feeds ball up the middle at center line for TFC Dante Campbell to run up the middle and tap ball around goalie at 15 yards for Osorio to shoot 15 yarder from left into empty net.
64 min…TFC Dante Campbell rolls pass to TFC Nicholas Osorio who’s tripped up in the FCL box and referee Fabrizio Stasolla calls a Penalty kick.
65 min…TFC Ethan Beckford GOAL…Beckford blasts a Penalty kick to his left which flying goalie gets a hand to but only pushes it to the left corner of the net.
80 min…TFC Daniel DaSilva GOAL…TFC Steven Furlano taps pass at center line as he’s being upended and DaSilva races down the middle, dekes diving goalie at 10 yards and taps ball into open net.
Final Score:….Toronto FC III…….6…….FC London……..0…….
Attendance varied with the weather conditions but peaked at about 60. It was overcast, very cold, and extremely windy. It also started to drizzle at halftime but had stopped before the second half started. Parkas were worn by everyone except the on-field players and officials. Tomorrow is the first day of May! I took my pass off from around my neck as the wind caught it a few times and slapped me in the face. No sound system was brought out today and the corner flags were allowed to stay blown over.
For my notes, a play would have to be pretty special for me to pry my mitt off to write it down so my more detailed notes are not going to be a play-by-play.
Filippo Di Bennardo earned the shutout for TFC in a very easy game. An L1O tweet revealed that FCL didn’t have one shot on goal. The TFC defence was solid with 2016 league-leading scorer Elvir Gigolaj and captain Christian Devia being held to very few chances.
There wasn’t too much to learn strategy wise on a day like today except keep the ball low so it doesn’t get caught in the wind. The wind was strong and from the north which was cross-field so it didn’t give either team an advantage in either half. Both teams were caught offside quite a few times.
A security guard answered me that it’s been three weeks since the winter bubble had been taken down leaving this field turf open to the elements.
The FCL players never adapted the entire afternoon while TFC settled down after a few atomic crosses. TFC have changed their parka colours to gray and black so their subs didn’t need to wear pinnies while warming up.
I was wearing last year’s red (thanks again Jason Bent!) so the ref requested I put one on and I wrestled for a few minutes to get it on in the wind.
Best non-scoring chances were at 5 minutes when TFC Marko Mandekic took a 22 yard freekick from the right that had the goalie fly over to the top left corner to get a hand to and a defender cleared behind the end line. 43 minutes had FCL Mohammad Reza Nafar get tripped up in the TFC box getting away a blocked shot but got up and tapped the ball to FCL Sean Fawsitt who blasted a shot from 12 yards on the far right well over the net. 53 minutes had the FCL goalie trapped by a bad backpass with two TFC forwards on him in the box. TFC Ethan Beckford stripped him off the ball and crossed to the center of the box but a defender got back in time to head the ball away. 85 minutes had TFC Glenn Muenkat roll a pass across the box and TFC Daniel DaSilva with an open net blasted a 15 yard shot off the underside of the bar but the ball stayed out and the goalie picked it up on the bounce.
89 minutes had FCL Zach Witt recover a poor TFC back pass but his off balance shot from 18 yards was well wide right. Injury time had TFC Dante Campbell have a long run up the right and center a pass to Muenkat but the goalie slid out to the edge of the box to grab the ball and Muenkat fell over him injuring himself.
TFC got off to a slow start last year before finishing strongly. This year rather than being their U-17s, they are referred to as U-19s and so most of the players I recognized from last year’s roster. With TFC not operating a PDL team this year and their USL team stacked with foreigners, the Academy team is staying together at the L1O level. An FCL official before the game was telling me how much their roster has changed from last year by now being filled with U-21s but I didn’t risk pulling the game rosters out of my bag for fear they’d blow across the field.
The two teams’ return match is Friday night August 25 at the German Canadian FC Stadium Field. I’ve been to ‘Cove Road’ years ago and maybe FCL can ensure an extra helping of mosquitoes for revenge against today’s game.
FC London captured the Western Conference title last season with TFC Academy (their name last year) finishing third. Sigma FC finished second.
Toronto FC III will be back here next Sunday at 1:00pm for a home game against Sigma FC. Those two teams have a rivalry for who can put the most grads into the MLS. Sigma’s most famous grad Kyle Larin is expected in town on Wednesday night for Orlando City’s game against Toronto FC at the MLS level.
Strange that in the parking lot at The Hangar and in then in my own driveway right after the game the wind was only a third of the speed of the KIA field.