After following the Toronto Wolfpack team for awhile, I have picked up on the word “gutted.” It unfortunately properly describes how Toronto FC II feel after their 1-1 draw with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at the Ontario Soccer Centre this past Saturday. It put a damper on what was otherwise a great family evening in Vaughan. The weather was sunny with a slight breeze; TFC keeper Alex Bono was on hand for a meet and greet; and even a bunch of youngsters did the Red Patch Boys proud, by chanting all game long to spur their team on. Well, minus the beer obviously.
Now a draw is usually not the worst thing, but when you have dominated the majority of game and deserved the three points, then yes, a draw kinda stings. When you give up the tying goal (Romeo Parks) in the 87th minute, well that just doesn’t sting, it hurts. When that victory would have ended your 10 game winless streak (now 11) well that really, really hurts. However, when you go through all of that and yet, in added time you keep fighting only to see what should be the winning goal rattle of the crossbar, well, that’s gutted for you.
“I feel sorry for the boys, the amount of effort they put into the game to only come away with one point,” Coach Jason Bent said post game. “It’s sickening for them and it’s definitely sickening for me.”
Thankfully, the team won’t have much time to dwell on it as they have to prepare for an afternoon clash midweek. It’s not sure yet what changes Bent will make to the lineup (if any) as the team did play well. TFC is on an international break and this allowed players like Ashtone Morgan, Jay Chapman, Jordan Hamilton (off the bench) and Tsubasa Endoh to get playing time.
Speaking of Endoh, he has some new found confidence after his spectacular game with the top club against the Ottawa Fury in the Canada Cup semi-finals. When an injury sent Tosaint Ricketts to the bench early, Coach Greg Vanney made the unorthodox move of replacing the forward with defender Steven Beitashour. This allowed Endoh to concentrate more on attacking and 6 minutes after the substitution, it was his cross that caused the own goal to give TFC the lead. A minute later Endow was able to head in TFC’s second goal of the match on a beautiful cross from Victor Vazquez. That performance seemed to have boosted his aggressiveness as he opened the scoring in the 59th minute as he redirected Alseth’s cross past keeper Trey Mitchell.
“It helped me a lot by playing in a more advanced role against Ottawa,” Endoh said after the game. “I scored and was involved with two goals and it helped me and some momentum carried over to this team.”
The Riverhounds did not have many chances, but the few they did have were dangerous. TFC II keeper Angelo Cavalluzzo was sensational in net and appropriately named Man of the Match. One save in particular stood out as the diminutive goalie stopped a clear breakaway from Romeo Parks in the second half.
TFC II’s next opportunity to break this streak will be against Orlando City B and that won’t be an easy task. Orlando has already beaten the team 3-1 earlier this year and have twice as many points as the young reds while playing one less game. The task won’t be easy but it isn’t impossible either. As mentioned before, they have been playing quality soccer just not able to capitalize on their chances. After hitting the crossbar a couple of times and the post earlier in the game… they could use a little bit of luck as well.
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