Rocket Robin Report: Toronto FC II v Rochester Rhinos

Result and details from the Friday April 7, 2017 USL game between Toronto FC II and Rochester Rhinos played at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan at 7:30pm.

Final Score:…..Toronto FC II…….0……Rochester Rhinos…….0….

Attendance was announced as 523 on this brutally cold and windy evening. Temperature was only +3 Celsius. Toronto had an inch of snow fall overnight and although it had melted by the late afternoon, because they must have shoveled the turf, there was a border of snow just a few feet from the sideline and each end zone. I figured about 100 fans or more left at halftime especially the ones with young kids. Thankfully TFC II head coach Jason Bent gifted me a full length TFC parka at the TFC II SSH event a week and a half ago so I didn’t even mind the aluminum benches that make up the stands.

Man of the Match (who I assume is always a TFC II player) was named as T&T defender Jelani Peters. He had a few key stops by diving headers and a magnificent block at 69 minutes by doing the splits to poke the ball away from Ryan James who otherwise was in alone at 20 yards. He injured himself on that play but returned to the game.

Fellow TFC II T&T forward Aikim Andrews was fed passes but was either checked off the ball before shooting, rolled softies to the goalie, or shot wide of the net.

Goalies Angelo Cavalluzzo of TFC II and Tomas Gomez of Rhinos earned shutouts for their teams.

Other best non-scoring chances were at 19 minutes with Kennardo Forbes taking his third cornerkick from the right side within 2 minutes had Wal Fall head at 10 yards up the middle that the goalie jumped for but the ball hit the top of the bar for a goal kick.

43 minutes Kennardo Forbes took a 35 yard freekick from the right and Darius Madison headed a 7 yarder wide left of the post.

51 minutes TFC Ben Spencer rolled a pass to his left for the charging Ryan Telfer at the 30 yard line. He rolled a cross from near the end line and the goalie beat Aikim Andrews to dive on the ball at 3 yards even with the left post.

74 minutes Kenardo Forbes took a cornerkick from the left and Ryan Felix headed a 12 yarder down the middle and TFC Dyvind Alseth headed the ball away at 3 yards on the right post.

90 minutes Jordan Dover chipped a ball from 20 yards on the right that goalie Angelo Cavalluzzo caught on the left post a split second before Rayane Boukemia got his head to it from 3 yards.

Ryan Telfer had an injury time shot that he rolled down the middle from 20 yards just wide left of the post.

Referee David Barrie gave out three Yellow cards and all in the second half in a game that wasn’t rough at all. I don’t think any players felt like going in for sliding tackles on the hard turf tonight.

TFC II list 14 Canadians on their roster out of 28 players listed. Sounds good except that tonight there were only three of them starting (goalie Angelo Cavalluzo, and midfielders Ryan Telfer and Malik Johnson). Midfielder Sergio Camargo came in at halftime just as Johnson left.

The Rhinos have two Canadians on their roster and used both for the full 90 minutes. Jordan Dover played well in defence. I watched him play the last two years with Durham United in League 1 Ontario. I watched midfielder Ryan James back in 2012 when he played for TFC Academy in the CSL and for TFC in the MLS Reserve League.

TFC Academy kids were paraded to the center circle at halftime. They looked about age 12. From the MLSE Presidents Breakfast it was mentioned that TFC won’t be running an academy for players under age 14 starting this year (except for the kids already in their program). Sounded like the last player introduced was Mason(?) Vanney—ohoh probably the MLS head coach Greg Vanney’s son. Greg is the uncle of TFC defender Eric Zavaleta.

So not enough Canadian players got on the field for my liking. This year there are only three subs allowed in USL games so that limits their opportunities. TFC is not operating a PDL team any longer, so although PDL rosters are mostly stocked with NCAA players on summer break, TFC got a lot of minutes for TFC II and TFC Academy players. MLSE president Bill Manning said he wants to help the proposed new Canadian league as long as it doesn’t operate in Toronto so what would be easier for him than announcing that TFC II is now known as Winnipeg FC and they can dump the production of entertaining 500 fans expecting the bumpkins not in the GTA to think this is the big league?

Tsubasa Endoh seems to be the only player from the MLS dump- down remaining with TFC II. He took all the corners and most of the freekicks tonight with mixed success. Kennardo Forbes did the same for the Rhinos.

TFC II captain this year is returning defender Mitch Taintor. He was featured on the two-page match program but was subbed at halftime.

There was no weather advantage for the home team as Rochester is just across Lake Ontario on the American side. Maybe MLS Atlanta will be at a disadvantage in the city tomorrow but then they beat Minnesota in a snowstorm a few weeks ago!

TFC II’s #1 goalie Mark Pais was recently signed by the MLS team because of the long term injury to Clint Irwin. TFC didn’t let Irwin just sit around. He’d been promoted all week by TFC as a reason to come to tonight’s game. He was in the autograph tent in the south end. How would he sign a near black picture postcard? With a silver coloured Sharpie! I gave him a list of game reports I’d written in 2011 when he played for Capital City FC (Ottawa) in their one season of existence in the CSL. Most interesting will be his game against TFC Academy when Jordan Hamilton scored on him and the opposing goalie Angelo Cavalluzzo was Red carded. He was tonight’s TFC II goalie.

Rhinos have replaced their forwards this season. Steevan Dos Santos now plays for Ottawa Fury (oh-oh that’s TFC II’s next game!) Christian Volesky now plays for Saint Louis FC and last week was named USL Player of the Week. His teammate includes Wesley Charpie who was a TFC II defender last season. Mark Pais played for Saint Louis last year (not a trade between clubs). I wonder if in the back of his mind he thought he’d have the chance of moving up to play in the MLS by moving to an MLS ‘II’ team?

Fans were given a soccer ball keychain on the way in and a fridge magnet (comparable to the one we were given last week at the MLS team’s game) on the way out. Home team players each threw a mini ball into the crowd after the national anthems.

This was the home opener for TFC II. This was freakishly cold but it can’t be unexpected at this time of year. Of course better weather would be certain if the game was played in the daytime—this weekend as the MLS TFC team is playing Saturday, Sunday afternoon would have been better. TFC II opened with three games on the road to start the season—Arizona and two games in Florida. They now go on another three game road trip and aren’t back until Saturday May 13th when they play Bethlehem Steel at BMO Field at 6:00pm–right after the MLS game.

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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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