Rocket Robin Report: Toronto FC II vs Bethlehem Steel FC

Editor’s Note: As Robin’s articles are originally published elsewhere and merely reprinted here, they are presented unedited. They are merely reformatted to improve the way they display on our site. NSXI takes no ownership or responsibility for the content, spelling, grammar or the opinions expressed below.

Results and details of the Friday October 6, 2017 USL game between Toronto FC II and Bethlehem Steel FC played at Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan at 7:30pm.

18 min…BSFC Santi Moar GOAL…BSFC defender on left side sends long low pass forward from 75 yards that TFC Julian Dunn-Johnson slides to but misses at 45 yard line and Moar receives at 35 yards and runs down left with zig zags to cut towards middle. When near end line he takes 12 yard shot around TFC Mitch Taintor and ball hits foot of retreating TFC Lars Eckenrode and pops into top center of net with goalie Mark Pais kneeling on the left post.

21 min…BSFC Santi Moar GOAL…BSFC player passes forward in middle from 65 yards to BSFC Seku Conneh on center line who taps ball to BSFC Adam Najem who runs forward to TFC 28 yard line and rolls pass forward to Moar. Moar is a step ahead of retreating TFC Julian Dunn-Johnson and takes 15 yard tough angle shot from left into top right corner of net with goalie guarding left post.

52 min…BSFC Derrick Jones GOAL…Derrick Jones cross from 45 yards is over to right where BSFC player at TFC 35 yard line runs forward on right. He centers pass forward to BSFC Adam Najem just inside right side of box. Najem turns and rolls centering pass to Derrick Jones who was diagonally charging over from left with TFC Julian Dunn-Johnson behind him and from 8 yards even with right post fires shot forward low into center of net just over sliding goalie at 5 yards.

60 min…TFC Shaan Hundal GOAL…TFC Anthony Osorio long run on left and low cross from 22 yards is blocked by BSFC Aaron Jones. Osorio gets possession back and crosses into box from left edge and Hundal chests ball at 8 yards in line with left post and takes midair shot that hits BSFC Charles Reymann in the back. Hundal then rolls 7 yarder into right corner of net with goalie Jake McGuire guarding left post.

80 min…BSFC Seku Conneh GOAL…BSFC Aaron Jones takes cornerkick from right that’s popped away by TFC player in crowd of players in box. BSFC Joshua Yaro at 22 yards on right pops header forward and BSFC Aaron Jones at 18 yards with back to goal flicks header forward and centered for charging Conneh to shoot 12 yarder low to left side of net freezing goalie in middle.

87 min…TFC Shaan Hundal GOAL…TFC Luca Uccello rolls pass forward on left from 50 yard line and TFC Ryan Telfer runs down left sideline with retreating BSFC Joshua Yaro in his way. Telfer at left end line rolls centering pass and Hundal at 8 yards with BSFC Auston Trusty having fallen shoots forward that sprawling goalie gets arm to but ball deflects into left side of net.

Final Score:…Toronto FC II…2…Bethlehem Steel FC…4…

Attendance was not announced but the USL website lists it as 647. The threat of rain possibly killed a lot of the walk up crowd. It started to rain right after the national anthems but stopped before the 10 minute mark and didn’t rain again until overnight.

Man of the Match (who is always at TFC II player) was announced as Shaan Hundal and with his two goals was an obvious choice. He was paired up with Daniel DaSilva who was playing only his second USL game and his first start and the pair were dangerous together.

Referee David Barrie gave out no cards in this game and players weren’t begging for Penalty kicks so just a few routine fouls.

Noble Okello made his first appearance in USL subbing on at 70 minutes replacing Brian James (who now has dyed his hair blonde). Okello is the last of the three pro-contract signees (September 15) to make an appearance as Julian Dunn-Johnson is a starter on defence and Rocco Romeo gets some time.

Dunn-Johnson I have praised in my reports before and tonight after the game as well in front of his family. Now high MLS draft choice Brandon Aubrey is not even on the bench. However watching the goals replayed and his part in them, I better hold back my applause at least for this week.

Mark Pais was TFC’s goalie and didn’t look that great. Maybe it’s because Angelo Cavalluzzo who must be considered #1 has makes such spectacular saves that are often hyped as ‘Save of the Week’ are commonplace, it had me wondering, ‘Could Cavalluzzo have stopped that?’.

BSFC almost turned this into a rout at 57 minutes when Santi Moar had what would have been his third goal called back for offside then Hundal scored three minutes later and the result was in doubt. Injury time had TFC with a few chances to close. 90 minutes had TFC Anthony Osorio (very common play this game) cross from 35 yards on the left that had TFC Luca Uccello leap and head a 10 yarder over the net. 91 minutes had Hundal intercept the goalie’s clearance at 35 yards, give a short pass to TFC Matthew Srbely who shot a 22 yarder from the right wide left of the net.

During warm-ups I saw TFC’s Sergio Camargo and BSFC Chris Nanco talking at the center line. They were both students of Syracuse University. Both players seemed to be trying too hard this game. Nanco had a large cheering section as he is from Brampton. I checked with him after the game that I watched him with League1 Ontario Sigma FC then he was drafted by MLS Philadelphia Union and they placed him in Bethlehem for playing time. He had 15 yard shot at 42 minutes sent wide and a 25 yarder a minute later that was also wide. 53 minutes had him shoot not just over the net but over the back fence. Camargo who has got in to games since recovering from a long injury had a few off target shots as well but was trusted with some of the cornerkicks.

The MLS team didn’t play in the Internatioal break this weekend but there were no TFC players dropped down and slumming it. Neither were there any player here who played for TFC III last night in L1O action that got hammered 5-0 in their game against Sigma FC. Six Canadian starters tonight and six of seven players on the bench were Canadian makes me happy!

In TFC II’s previous game, a 1-0 upset over first place Louisville FC, midfielder Liam Fraser made the USL ‘Team of the Week’ but because he picked up another Yellow card, he missed tonight’s game.

About that attendance, I certainly knew they didn’t announce it at the game and estimated it was slightly smaller than their last home game against Louisville when the hottest weekend of the season (even though it was already Fall hit the GTA) and tonight the rain warning would dampen crowds, I wasn’t sure I’d find it on the USL site so asked a TFC official. He said he was told not to announce it over the PA but gave me what he remembered (actually under by about 20). Ashamed of the attendance? Fine but I said wait until next year where they will play at BMO Field and Lamport Stadium and they can build off the MLS crowd and the attendance will look like it has improved exponentially.

This was the only game in the USL tonight.

The result drops the TFC II record to 6 wins, 18 losses, 7 ties for 25 points. They are in fifteenth (last) in the Eastern Conference. They are now four points behind Richmond Kickers with one game to go so that’s where they will finish. Only team worse than them is Portland Timbers 2 who are last in the West. Their +/- in goals scored/allowed is

Bethlehem’s record improves to 12 wins, 11 losses, 7 ties for 43 points with two games left. They jump from tenth to a tie for sixth place in the East in one night! Eight teams in each Conference make the playoffs.

Bethlehem owes some of their standings success to playing TFC as they have now won all three games this season. They played at BMO Field on May 13 and won 1-0 and in Bethlehem on August 13 and won 3-1. Their Jamaican international Cory Burke scored in both those games. He did not play tonight because of suspension but he was sitting in the section beside me. The team moves on to Rochester to play the Rhinos on Tuesday.

MLS directly owned teams are not doing well at all in the USL. Seattle Sounders 2, LA Galaxy 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 2, and Portland Timbers 2 hold the bottom spots in the West in that order. In the East, Orlando City B is eighth and New York Red Bulls 2 are ninth (after being first last year and winning the playoffs). There’s talk of moving the MLS B teams down to a new USL third division and letting the indie-owned teams stay in the USL top division. I don’t know of the MLS associate teams like Bethlehem who have a looser agreement with Philadelphia Union.

TFC II’s final game of the season is next Saturday against FC Cincinnati at 7:30pm at the Ontario Soccer Centre. Cincinnati are the other team tied for sixth place right now so they will be looking desperately for the win. One thing is they be surprised by the size of the crowd as TFC II is only drawing 3% of the crowd size of Cincinnati home games.

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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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