Rocket Robin Report: Toronto FC II vs Harrisburg City Islanders

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.

Result and details of the Saturday July 1, 2007 USL game between Toronto FC II and Harrisburg City Islanders played at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan at 5:00pm.

22 min…HCI Pedro Ribeiro GOAL…Ribeiro bends freekick from 20 yards on right around player wall and flying goalie Mark Pais gets hands to but pushes ball into top left corner of net.

27 min…TFC Mitch Taintor GOAL…TFC Luca Uccello takes 30 yard freekick from right that has ball land on left and charging Taintor boots in 8 yarder into top left just under bar.

30 min…HCI Jake Bond GOAL…HCI Abass Mohammed boots chip from 75 yards downfield on left near sideline. HCI Pedro Ribeiro receives it at TFC 25 yard line on left then he cuts around TFC Brandon Aubrey to get to end line and sends low cross from 20 yards bouncing along 6 yard box where Bond waiting all alone at 6 yards one-touches ball booting shot into short side of net beyond diving goalie.

34 min…TFC Luca Uccello GOAL…TFC Adan Daniels at 40 yards passes forward up middle to Uccello in middle at 25 yards who touches ball left to TFC Aikim Andrews who eludes HCI Travis Brent’s sliding tackle on edge of box but that pops ball up. Andrews turns around for it and chips short pass from 12 yards on left to Uccello at 7 yards with goalie Brandon Miller caught on left, Uccello kicks in 6 yarder to middle of net with retreating HCI Jake Bond too late to keep it out.

47 min…HCI (TFC own goal) GOAL…HCI James Thomas makes low centering pass from 22 yard line on left that finds HCI Jake Bond who runs up to 10 yards even with right post and shoots low that sprawling goalie on right post gets hand to rolling it along 3 yard line and retreating TFC Brandon Aubrey kicks into own net off his shin one step ahead of charging Thomas.

57 min…HCI Paul Wilson GOAL…HCI Shawn McLaws is given pass and he runs down right wing to 25 yard line where he sends low centering cross where HCI James Thomas on edge of box but he’s marked by defender so he taps ball to HCI Pedro Ribeiro running across from right. He controls and passes from 18 yards between two defenders for Thomas who now is alone and takes 8 yard shot up middle that goalie dives forward to make point blank save at 7 yards and ball pops over to right where Wilson beats retreating TFC Ryan Telfer to shoot tough angle 10 yarder from
right into left side of open net.

73 min…TFC Aikem Andrews GOAL…TFC Liam Fraser intercepts pass at HCI 50 yard line and passes forward for TFC Ricardo John at 35 yard line who dribbles down middle and steps by HCI Tiago Calvano to 20 yards and taps pass to right for Andrews to shoot 18 yarder from right into short top right corner of net.

Final Score:…..Toronto FC II………3…..Harrisburg City Islanders…..4……..

Attendance was announced as 156 (that’s one hundred fifty-six) on this warm afternoon with a pregame rain and the hazy sun actually coming out during the second half. I know it was a USL Cup game but USL conference rivals FC Cincinnati drew more that 32000 for a midweek game a few days ago against MLS opposition. For us….blah blah blah Canada Day holiday weekend, and pregame rain (actually there were two as there was an early morning rain as well) but I appreciate the PA announcer for an honest announcement.

Referee Yusri Rudolf gave out three Yellow cards today (two to HCI) in a game that wasn’t rough but a lot of HCI players went down with injuries. Paul Wilson who would later score replaced Rasheed Olabiyi at 19 minutes when he couldn’t continue. Some fans were saying about later injuries ‘Get up’ when other HCI players went down but funniest comment was at 84 minutes when HCI Abass Mohammed went down but play continued on into  the TFC end. When the tide turned and TFC had a rush a teammate yelled out ‘get up’ and Mohammed got up to make TFC Aikim Andrews rush his shot from 12 yards that had the goalie make an overhead catch just under the bar. The tie was still waiting until almost the last kick of the game where TFC Dante Campbell got a cross drop into the middle but he whiffed on the ball at 12 yards then shot wide left of the net.

Mark Pais can’t really be blamed for any of the HCI goals. On most of them he made the initial save and had no one to clear the rebounds. Angelo Cavalluzzo had played many games in a row but had been shelled for six goals last week against first place Charleston Battery so it gave Pais a chance to start again.

Harrisburg improves to 4 wins, 7 losses, 4 ties for 17 points and they climb up to twelve place in the Eastern Conference. It was their second win in a row.

TFC II’s record falls to 2 wins, 9 losses, 5 ties for 11 points. They are in fifteenth (last) place in the East. Their three goals adds to the six goals they had scored all year up to now and the first time they have scored two goals in a game this season. The broadcast crew mentioned that Luca Uccello had taken the scoring lead for TFC II with his second goal of the season!

It must be tough on TFC head coach Jason Bent making a line up as this week TFC MLSers that at times have been loaned down were up with the big team in Dallas. Ashtone Morgan was a starter and Tsubasa Endoh, Jason Hernandez, Jay Chapman, Ben Spencer, and Jordan Hamilton were on the bench. Oyvind Alseth who has been a TFC II mainstay was also playing against Dallas and was a starter.

Some writers have been making these elaborate story-lines about how TFC II can climb to eighth to make the playoffs but I am more looking forward to watching young players getting their chances to get on the team and obtaining playing time. Guys like midfielders Dante Campbell and Malik Johnson I’ve had a chance to watch at TFC III in League1 Ontario. Andrew Dias just joined from TFC III in the last week and Julian Dunn-Johnson bypassed the whole L1O team by joining TFC II from their academy last week. He is only age 15 and is the only Canadian defender on the team (OK Ashtone Morgan was really a drop-down from the MLS team). He replaced Brandon Aubrey at 71 minutes and didn’t look out of place…(didn’t give up an own goal).  I buy into what TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko answered me one or two years ago that the purpose of TFC II is to feed players to the MLS team so development is more important than results.

Man of the Match (who is always a TFC II player) was named as Luca Uccello and wins the prize from one of the team sponsors ‘Anthony’s Espresso Equipment’. I saw his father on the way out and joked it must have been about the fourth time he won an espresso machine. He said it’s only the supplies they give him like the reloads and not a new machine each time. I confirmed with the company who were putting away their demo equipment not so much for that but to say something friendly after snapping at them while standing on the other side of the gate in the pregame rain “You shouldn’t give a prize when the team loses 6-1”. The owner said “Why not? Winning isn’t everything”…which makes a perfect loop of how I felt at the end of the game.

It was Canada Day and we were given a small nylon Canadian flag on a wooden stick which was nice and more permanent than the paper flags most cities give out at their festivals. We early arrivals (first 200 which meant everyone) were given a piece of cake on a stick. It was smaller than a golf ball—I asked for a second piece on my way out.

I didn’t like how the team fled to the exits without coming to the fence to talk to their fans but I guess they were too upset by the loss.

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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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