On Wednesday night, while most MLS sides south of the border were busy with US Open Cup action, Toronto FC took to the field down in North Carolina for a friendly against their USL Pro affiliate, the WIlmington Hammerheads. Toronto FC got goals from De Rosario and Hoilett in the first half which was enough to hold on for the 2-1 win in a game that was more talked about out of confusion than anything else.
The confusion stemmed from the fact that the name Hoilett showed up in the lineup without being clear which of the two brothers it was. It turns out it was the younger, Jaineil, who suited up for the reds last night rather than Junior Hoilett who remains under contract with Queens Park Rangers and could make his return to the Premier League this fall.
Jaineil and Junior both trained with Toronto FC for a short period of time last summer to stay fit while they were back in Toronto during the offseason but things might be a bit different this time around. The younger Hoilett, now 22-years-old, joined FSV Frankfurt's Under-23 team last summer on a free transfer but his contract with the team runs out at the end of the month and he could once again be looking for a new club. There is no official word yet as to whether he is currently on trial with TFC but one would imagine that his inclusion in this friendly suggests that the club is at least taking a closer look at him should he be interested in signing for his hometown team.
While Jaineil is certainly not going to draw the same level of attention that he older brother has garnered he is a capable attacker in his own right. He can play on either wing and is capable of finding the back of the net as he scored 7 times last season.
The game itself was an interesting affair in large part due to the fact that no one really knew what kind of lineup TFC would be sending down to Wilmington given that the players are off on their World Cup break at the moment. Apparently they did not even bring a full lineup as Jordan Hamilton flipped back to TFC and was handed the start. Manuel Aparicio was also back with Toronto for this game as he made the bench along with Kyle Bekker.
Starting XI: Konopka, Jackson, Hagglund, Richter, Morgan, Hoilett, Hall, Oso, DeRo, Wiedeman, Hamilton Tune in: http://t.co/R8qM26ax9y— Toronto FC (@torontofc) June 18, 2014
Ryan Richter was also included in the lineup after his stint in Ottawa training with the Fury. It is unclear as of now if he will be going back to join the Fury for the fall NASL season or if he is back with TFC for the rest of the year now. Either way he was given the chance to start in what was clearly a B-team lineup from Ryan Nelsen.
The Hammerheads did get to keep one of their loan players as Quilan Roberts got the start in goal for the hosts and had plenty of work to do over the course of the game. He would not get beaten in the earlier going despite TFC creating a number of chances, including one for Hamilton. It was not until the 20th minute that TFC would find the back of his goal as Dwayne De Rosario converted a penalty after the ref had no choice but to whistle a Wilmington defender for a handball.
Toronto would double their lead only a few minutes later as Andrew Wiedeman showed off his play making skills with a nice pass to find Hoilett in space and he had no trouble beating Roberts to push the lead up to 2-0 before the half.
After TFC's second goal it seemed that Wilmington started to come in to the game a bit more and they did manage to test Chris Konopka on a number of occasions. They got their reward in the second half when one of their trialists, Marc Godelman scored to cut the lead to 2-1. His 85th minute goal was as close as the Hammerheads would get though as TFC managed to hold on for the 2-1 win without having to really exert that much energy.
The good new for TFC is that everyone seems to have made it through the game without picking up any sort of injury. They got a result which means little in the big picture of things and some of the fringe players were able to pick up 90 minutes of game time which should help their fitness even if it was not the most competitive of matches at times.
TFC now have just over a week until they return to MLS action when they take on the New York Red Bulls. Hopefully the 60 minutes that Jonathan Osorio played last night will help have him ready for that game as he is one of a number of TFC players who was working to get back to full fitness over the break.
It will also be interesting to see how else comes in on trial with the club over the course of the summer. The international transfer window opens in under a month and contracts in a number of different countries will expire at the end of June so the activity should pick up in the coming weeks and Hoilett will likely be far from the last player we see the club taking a closer look at.