Rocket Robin Report: Toronto FC II vs Tampa Bay Rowdies

Result and details of the Friday May 19, 2017 USL game between Toronto FC II and Tampa Bay Rowdies played at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan at 5:00pm.

9 min…TFC Luca Uccello GOAL…TFC Sergio Camargo sends high chipped pass from 60 yards down middle which finds Uccello all alone at 30 yards and he dribbles forward and shoots low 18 yarder to left corner of net with goalie Matt Pickens sprawling at 14 yards.

67 min…Rowdies Joe Cole GOAL…Rowdies Darwin Jones eludes TFC Ryan Telfer to get away low cross from 22 yards along right end line through two defenders and one Rowdies forward in the 6 yard box and Cole shoot 6 yarder up middle into center of net under diving goalie Angelo Cavalluzzo who’d been guarding right post.

79 min…Rowdies Martin Paterson GOAL…Rowdies Michael Nanchoff takes 33 yard free kick down middle which has Rowdies Neill Collins head ball at 12 yards on right across box for Paterson at 6 yards in middle to head ball into right side of net.

81 min…Rowdies Darwin Jones GOAL…Rowdies Joe Cole recovers TFC Brandon Aubrey’s high popped up header at 25 yards in middle and he one-touch rolls pass to right for Jones who steps forward on right and blasts 20 yarder into top right corner beyond flying goalie. The ball tipped off TFC Liam Fraser stepping forward at 17 yards.

Final Score:…..Toronto FC II……1……Tampa Bay Rowdies……3….

Attendance was announced as 551 which probably started at barely 100 when the game started. I thought when I saw the schedule at the beginning of the season that the starting time was a glitch but it took me until last week to realize it was to let the fans get home to see the MLS team play New York Red Bulls in New Jersey at 7:30pm. It did take less time to get home than here as the rush hour was over but the TFC game had already started. Giveaway at the gate tonight was a TFC II fridge magnet but they were probably left over because of the small crowd in their season opener against Rochester.

Referee Carol Ann Chenard led an all female officiating crew. She only gave out six Yellow cards that I counted (three to each team) and waved off at least one Penalty kick call to each team when TFC Luca Uccello at 35 minutes and Rowdies Georgi Hristov at 41 minutes fell over too easily in the box. She also called each team for an offensive handball in the other team’s box.

TFC’s early goal stopped their scoreless drought at 519 minutes. It was only their third goal of the season in nine games. Scoring has obviously been the team’s major problem. Defensively they’ve been respectable with only nine goals allowed until today. Four of those were against Tampa Bay in the second game of the season when TFC was also shut out.

TFC had six Canadian starters in their lineup—Angelo Cavalluzzo in goal, Sergio Camargo, Ashtone Morgan, Luca Uccello, Liam Fraser in the midfield, and Shaan Hundal up front. Ryan Telfer came on at 60 minutes to replace Ashtone Morgan. TFC made the same switch last weekend at their game at BMO Field but that was Telfer for Morgan at halftime. Morgan has been recovering from injury stretching back into last year. If he does come back it will be likely as a winger. His years with TFC Academy and time in the MLS were as a defender. Last weekend I said there were three Canadian starters but it was four.

I keep looking for forward Jordan Hamilton to make an appearance as he hasn’t seen a minute of MLS action so far this season but he’s not with TFC II. [Oops. Just saw him get into the TFC game at the very end].

T&T defender Jelani Peters was transferred to TFC II earlier today. He had been on loan from W-Connection until now. He played the second half and made one key clearance while they still held the lead.

Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell looked like a genius as he brought in Martin Paterson during the stoppage in play on the 79 minute free kick. Paterson took his place then scored right after the kick was taken.

TFC II remains in 15th (last place) in the East with a record of 1 win, 5 losses, 3 ties for 6 points.

The win moves the Rowdies into first place in the East for now as it’s the first game of the weekend. This is a team that is putting a big effort into getting one of the expansion franchises the MLS is offering over the next few years. The Tampa Bay local government has just approved a completely privately funded soccer specific stadium which is a huge favourable point for the MLS expansion committee.

Tampa’s roster right now is a mix of MLS vets and international pick ups. I could see them putting an effort into going far in the US Open Cup to gather more publicity. Captain Joe Cole is their most famous player playing much of his career in England including many internationals until 2010 and at the club level until 2016 most recently with Coventry. Goalie Matt Pickens played for MLS Colorado Rapids from 2009 to 2014.

TFC II’s next home game starts at noon on Wednesday May 24 against Richmond Kickers with what I expect will be a crowd of school kids.

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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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