Rocket Robin Report: Toronto FC II vs Charleston Battery

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Result and details of the Saturday August 5, 2017 USL game between Toronto FC II and Charleston Battery played at The Soccer Centre in Vaughan at 4:30pm.

 Battery Justin Portillo (20) with ball. Photo by Robin Glover.
Battery Justin Portillo (20) with ball. Photo by Robin Glover.

51 min…TFC Shaan Hundal GOAL…CB Skylar Thomas in TFC end blasts a 35 yard shot from right that’s blocked and now he’s out of position. TFC Tsubasa Endoh sends pass forward on left to charging Hundal at 35 yards between two other defenders CB Forrest Lasso and CB Taylor Mueller and he runs to just inside left side of box and rolls 18 yard shot into right corner of net with goalie Odisnel Cooper sliding at 8 yards.

Final Score:…Toronto FC II…….1……Charleston Battery…..0….

Attendance was announced as 1145 on this mild and partly cloudy day. The sun must have been out more than I thought as most of my game notes were converted from wristwatch time as the sun was shining on the scoreboard. It was also windy the whole game with crossfield gusts from the west making high passes and clearance either die or blow out of bounds. Only way to beat that was to keep the ball on the ground although both teams did not follow that rule.

The attendance was excellent (relative to TFC II’s other home games) as they haven’t played a home game since their win against Ottawa on July 8. Since then their three game road trip they lost all three without scoring. It had rained twice earlier in the day and the MLS team’s game away in Washington DC was starting half hour after this game ended.

Man of the Match (who is always a TFC II player) was named as Tsubasa Endoh. Just at that time I was over at the player’s gate asking Shaan Hundal to fill me in on the assist on his goal…Ok it was Endoh. I had been marking Endoh as someone who was among the worst at judging the wind with a cornerkick flying from one side over the box and out for a throw-in and a weak 33 yard freekick into the wind that didn’t even make the edge of the box. Only place windier than here is their KIA Training Centre so they all should be quicker at adapting than any visiting team. I said to Hundai that he should have won the coffee product prize today.

Angelo Cavalluzzo earned the shutout for TFC. It was his tenth start of the season. He hadn’t been starting for about a month with Mark Pais getting all the games. He had a few key saves to make. Best was at 80 minutes when a Battery cornerkick from the right had CB Taylor Mueller head the ball from 7 yards on the right over to the left and CB Ricky Garbanzo took a 12 yard shot that Cavalluzzo flew over to just under the bar and palmed it over the top right corner. There was a big scare in the last minute of injury time when CB Jarad van Schaik took a 60 yard freekick down the middle and Cavalluzzo at 8 yards even with the right post in a crowd of players in the box looked like he palmed the ball into his own net but the referee whistled play down as a CB player ran into him.

The 80 minute save is the kind that should be nominated for Save-of-the-Week because of its importance. I was still getting tweets and e-mails yesterday to vote for Mark Pais for last week. Sure it looked better but if he hadn’t stopped it they would have lost 3-0 instead of 2-0.

Referee Chris Grabus (who I can’t remember ever seeing before) gave out two Yellow cards—one to each team. CB Ricky Garbanza either on a delayed call or talking away from the play at 17 minutes and TFC Julian Dunn-Johnson in second half injury time for stalling around taking a throw-in. The game didn’t look rough at all.  An official monitoring the game answered me that Grabus was from Montreal.

Starting Canadians (seven!) on TFC included goalie Cavalluzzo, defender Julian Dunn-Johnson (age 17, I think I’ve had that wrong in my last few reports), midfielders Ryan Telfer, Liam Fraser and Aidan Daniels, and forwards Hundal and Malik Johnson. Johnson was subbed out at 74 minutes with a leg injury and replaced by Canadian Sergio Camargo. Daniels lasted 62 minutes. New ‘pro signing’ from their academy 18 year old midfielder Dante Campbell came in at 82 minutes. Luca Uccello is injured and didn’t play today.

Battery defender Skylar Thomas played the first 76 minutes. The Canadian played for TFC II last year. He mostly stayed in the back but could be criticized for coming too far forward on the TFC goal. Last year he was often in the opposition box on corner kicks because he’s 6’3″.

The Battery got by without their top scorer Romario Williams who has scored 14 goals this season which is higher than the 11 that TFC have scored all season even after today. He is back from the Gold Cup where Jamaica made the final but missed today’s game from what I read because of Yellow card accumulation. Williams scored what turned out to be the winner in the quarterfinal game against Canada.

[Late news: The Battery Twitter account at @Chas_Battery put out a tweet that four players Romario Williams, O’Brian Woodbine, Jeffrey Obiiteyt Otoo, and Maikel Chang (first two Jamaicans, Ghanian, Cuban) were held at the border on visa issues. That would account for only a five player bench. Meanwhile in downtown Toronto, hundreds of thousands were at the Caribana parade.]

It was a good result for TFC who avenge their worst loss of the year when they traveled to Charleston and lost 6-1 on June 24.

The result improves TFC’s record to 4 wins, 12 losses, 5 ties for 17 points. They move from fifteenth (last in the Eastern Conference) to fourteenth (if Richmond Kickers don’t get a result this weekend).

Charleston was in first place in the East but now have a record of 10 wins, 5 losses, 7 ties for 37 points and may be passed by one or two teams this weekend. Their last six results have been tie, loss, loss, tie, tie, and now loss to show they’ve really cooled down.

Next game for TFC II is on Wednesday and it has been moved to BMO Field so they can bookend it after the Toronto FC (MLS) first team practice and have a season ticket holder’s meal between the two events. I suspect this has replaced the picnic at the KIA Training Centre which had limited space and last year my invitation was declined. The opponent on Wednesday is Charlotte Independence who were second at the start of the day on a ten game unbeaten streak. There is a good chance they could be the first place team by the time of that 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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