Rocket Robin Report: Toronto FC II vs Richmond Kickers

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 Wednesday May 24, 2017 USL game between Toronto FC II and Richmond Kickers played at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan at 12:00pm.

59 min…TFC II RED card…Anthony Osorio earns a direct ejection at RK 40 yard line from referee Sylviu Petrescu. TFC Robert Boskovic makes a sliding tackle which upends RK Oliver and rolls ball forward to Osorio who’d already fallen on previous play. Osario pulls RK Alex Lee over him so he’s out of way and Boskovic can make run down line. The play carries on but Lee uses his hands on ground to boost himself and puts foot on the back of Osorio. Osorio swings like he was going to elbow Lee but misses as Lee is only on his knees but Osorio also uses his foot to stamp on Lee’s calf. The referee had turned around to see this.

Final Score:…..Toronto FC II…….0……Richmond Kickers……0….

Attendance was announced as 1074 which was the largest crowd of the season at Ontario Soccer Centre. The crowd was made up of school kids mostly at the Grade 7 and 8 age group. They were given thunder-sticks to bang together but mostly only screamed “TFC, TFC” when some game crew staff member stood on the sideline to threw t-shirts.

Something deja-vu about this game. I double checked after I got home and found it was the Kickers who were the matinee game opponent last May. Since-released Sal Bernal scored the TFC 1-0 winner late in that game. They didn’t have the Freestylers doing ball tricks who stole the show last year and earned cheers louder than the players. They did have a motivational speaker and ex TFC defender/now broadcaster Steven Caldwell doing a pregame talk about exercise and nutrition with unseen to them behind the stands a 100 kids were lined up for the ice cream truck and barbecue tent. There was a respectful moment of silence for the victims of Monday’s Manchester bombing. The kids here today would have been among the age of the fan base for Ariana Grande.

Anthony Osorio was subbed on at 58 minutes, had enough time to sprint to the opposite side of the field to wait for play to restart then take the Red card all within a minute. TFC II had struggled with getting scoring chances with eleven men and they only got worse. Kickers now could be a little more relaxed at the back and look to tee up chances in the scoring zone.

Mark Pais earned the shutout for TFC II and had to make only a few saves. He had been squeezed for playing time as he got the call-up to the MLS team to fill in for the injured Clint Irwin but didn’t see any action. By the time he came back Angelo Cavalluzzo had taken his spot and was irremovable with ‘save of the week’ and ‘stop of the month’ adding to his resume. The TFC PA department has glossed this game over as ‘another shutout to earn a point at home’.

Matt Turner earned the shutout for Richmond with not much work to do. Kickers defender Mallan Roberts has played every minute of the season. He is a Canadian from age 9 and played for FC Edmonton from 2012 to 2016 and was on loan to Ottawa Fury for some of 2016.  He’d be the caliber of player that the new CanPL league will be looking for. Man of the Match (who is always a TFC II player) was named as defender Brandon Aubrey who commanded the backline. Things got tougher for him as not only were they a man down the last half hour, soon after the sending off, defender Robert Boskovic was replaced by forward Malik Johnson to try to give TFC a little more bite up front.

Referee Sylviu Petrescu gave out three Yellow cards (two to TFC II) and the Red in a game that wasn’t rough except for that one moment. He must have found time in his schedule for today as he’s one of the regular MLS referees.

Best scoring chances were at 27 minutes when RK Raul Gonzalez took a 45 yard freekick from the right that had RK Mikey Minutillo head the ball on a jump at 18 yards and the goalie dove to block near the line. 29 minutes had TFC Luca Uccello take a 35 yard freekick from the left that had the goalie punch away at 10 yards in a crowd of players. 40 minutes had RK Christopher Durkin get a shot through a crowd of players and the goalie and pushed wide left of the post. 52 minutes had TFC Uccello backheel a pass on the edge of the box and TFC Shaan Hundal blasted a shot well over the net. 77 minutes had Hundal rush on the right and he was tripped up but tapped a pass to Uccello who flubbed a shot from 12 yards and the ball was cleared. Kickers had more shots on net but they were often from 25 yards or more out which meant easy catches for the goalie if they were even on target or a defender didn’t clear away.

Toronto FC II had a makeshift lineup today as they supplied players to their MLS team to play in the Canadian Championship semi-final in Ottawa last night. They had some starters in that game…defender/captain Mitchell Taintor, midfielders Tsubasa Endoh, Jay Chapman, and Raheem Edwards played the whole ninety (Edwards was ejected in injury time), and forward Jordan Hamilton. Subs included defender Ashtone Morgan and Jason Hernandez. Even bench players who didn’t see the field were defender Oyvind Alseth, and midfielders Ben Spencer and Sergio Camargo couldn’t play today because some team officials were saying the MLS team didn’t get back to Toronto until 4:00am. (yes I realize Chapman, Edwards, Hernandez and Morgan have really transitioned to the MLS team). Also Hamilton hadn’t played for neither TFC or TFC II until this last weekend.

To fill the roster, they brought some players up from their League1 Ontario team. Robert Boskovic was a starter on defence and looked good. Midfielder Malik Johnson came into the game at 63 minutes. Matthew Srbely was not used today. The reason I mention them is Toronto FC III has a first round League1 Ontario Cup game at 8:00pm tonight against rival Sigma FC. It’s one game, straight to Penalty kicks if a tie to decide who moves on to the quarter finals. With almost a month between which dates teams picked to play their Cup game, and them ‘hosting’ the game in Downsview (not the KIA Centre because their turf field has no stadium lights) at an indoor stadium I wonder why they chose tonight to play.

This was not a game of league powerhouses. Richmond have now scored only 5 goals in 10 games and TFC II have scored 3 goals in 10 games. These are the two worst goals for records in the Eastern Conference. I think the game could have gone on another hour without any goals.

Kickers with that one point now have a record of 2 wins, 4 losses, and 4 ties for 10 points and actually move up to ninth place for now but have played more games than the teams behind them.

TFC II with their point move to a record of 1 win, 4 ties, 5 losses for 7 points and stay in fifteenth (last) place.

TFC II now go on the road for two games and will not be back until Saturday June 10 at 7:30pm against Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

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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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