TFCII come up short in USL Pro home opener

Results and details of the Wednesday July 8, 2015 USL Pro game between Toronto FC II
and Pittsburgh Riverhounds played at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan at 8:00pm.

8 min…Riverhounds Kevin Kerr GOAL…PR Michael Green long throw-in from left has
ball headed down and Kerr boots in 7 yarder up middle into center of net just
under bar.

93 min…Riverhounds Anthony Arena GOAL…TFC Anthony Osorio takes cornerkick from
right that’s over players in box and TFC player crosses back from left that has
defender clear and start breakout. PR Kevin Kerr rushes forward and is actually
behind TFC goalie Alex Bono who has come all the way into the PR box to try
to help in the play. Kerr passes from 60 yards that springs charging Arena
on through ball past last defender and he races in from 50 yards pursued
by defender and goalie and rolls in 15 yarder into open net.

Final Score:…..Toronto FC II……0…….Pittsburgh Riverhounds…….2…….

Attendance was announced as 867 on this mild evening. This was the home opener
for TFC II at The Ontario Soccer Centre (two other ‘home’ games were played
at BMO Field after MLS games). I had seen these grounds from a distance
a month ago and there were no stands…although relating what I saw to a couple
beside me and the woman said she had been here Monday and there was only the
skeleton built. I do think that these stands are almost identical
to the Molson Indy stands that are erected every year at the CNE grounds
(the surrounding location of BMO Field).

At 58 minutes one bank of lights shorted out leaving the south east cornerflag
area in the dark. The scoreboard was the same as in previous years except that
it now has fronting of the TFC II logo and the Ontario Soccer Association.
At least the turf was new as was the fencing separating the stands from
the field.

I didn’t know how the TFC supporters groups would get along with the regular
fans with more children than the usual MLS game. They kept their chants
pretty PG tonight and didn’t offend anyone. The PA system was worse with pregame
music of mostly EDM and rap probably not prescreened as one song started up and
dropped an F-bomb and an N-bomb before being pulled after about 30 seconds then
the rest of their rap songs were ‘clean’ ones by Drake. After the game ended
the supporter groups broke into F-bomb chants about Montreal.

Sebastian Giovinco was signing autographs and posing for selfies before the game
with a very long line stretching about 30 yards. Danny Dichio who is a coach
for one of the TFC youth teams also showed up. Stuart Neely who is coach
of the TFC Academy teams in League 1 Ontario and the PDL was on the field before
the game helping with the warm ups. TFC II head coach Jason Bent was also there.
Their PDL team had travelled to Pittsburgh on Monday night and beaten the
Riverhounds U-23 team 1-0. None of the players in that game were in the
lineups tonight.

The TFC II team frustrated their fans most of the game with a lot of passing
back instead of forward. It may have made their possession stats look better
but they had few scoring chances all night and when they finally pressed there
was almost always a Riverhound defender to clear or block the ball (a few
on leaping karate kicks to prevent break-ins) before the goalie had to get
involved.

Best reason for the weak play of TFC II is that they had six regulars called
up for Canada’s Pan Am games team that starts play this week in Hamilton. Molham Babouli
is TFC II’s leading scorer. Midfielders Chris Mannella (also the team captain)
and Manny Aparicio are on the MLS roster too. Jordan Hamilton was about the
only offensive threat tonight.

Referee Justin Tasev gave out only two Yellow cards that I counted (both to the
Riverhounds) in a game that wasn’t rough. Best part was he didn’t fall for any
lame Penalty kick pleas or many freekick calls on the edge of the box on good
challenges by defenders of both teams.

Calle Brown earned the shutout for the Riverhounds, a very easy time, only
having to make a few stops.

Riverhounds are one of the few USL Pro teams that do not have an affiliation
with an MLS club. Their record improves to 7 wins, 5 losses, 4 ties for 25 points
and fifth place. TFC II record falls to 3 wins, 6 losses, 3 ties for 12 points
and tenth in the twelve team Eastern Division. Top six make the playoffs.

After the game some players from both teams came over to the fence to chat with
people in the stands. Good for me to confirm who set up that second goal as the
YouTube video of the game may not show up for a few days.
Jay Chapman was in the stands. He got his first start for TFC against Los Angeles
Galaxy last weekend. He answered my question that he could still play for TFC II
if he got the call. TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko (who once played for
the Riverhounds) and a woman rep said the stands are only temporary until more
permanent ones are installed (I’d expect the off season).

I didn’t buy season tickets to this team (although the price is less than one
of my ‘premier’ match MLS games) as there are a few conflicts between TFC and
TFC II schedule (I wouldn’t have time to get between the two stadiums) but maybe
next year. Their next game is Saturday afternoon against Rochester Rhinos (the
first place team in the East, a team I saw them play to a 0-0 score at BMO Field
after an MLS game). All going well I’ll try to be there.

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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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