TFC II come off a stellar performance in St.Louis on Thursday, a game that saw the team earn its second win of the season. The young Reds were without its two star strikers Jordan Hamilton and Mo Babouli. As well, they were without attacking mid Jay Chapman.
For these team to be successful, they're going to have to deal with not always having a full squad and having to use their depth to help earn wins. That is what TFC II did on Thursday. This game was starred by forwards Massimo Mirabelli and Edwin Rivas, who both scored their first goals of the season.
Then, it was the stellar play by keeper Alex Bono who made several key saves to keep his side in the game. However, his first minute misplay was intercepted by Bryan Gaul and converted to the games first goal. Bono used that as motivation to make no mistakes later on and proved to be one of TFC II's key players of the game.
Now TFC II head to Louisville to face another expansion squad ahead of them in the standings.
Louisville City FC
Louisville City, like Saint Louis FC, are new to the USL and have impressed early on. The team plays out of Louisville Slugger Field. Louisville may be known for baseball, but Louisville City FC are trying to show that soccer should be the cities new past time.
The team sits in fourth in the East, and has only conceded four goals. That is the second best in the whole USL. Like Saint Louis last game, TFC II will face a squad with a low goals against.
Keeper Scott Goodwin has only conceded four goals and has made 20 saves in all seven games for his side.
Conor Shanosky and Tarek Morad should also be thanked for their efforts to keep their keeper under five goals and not have him face a ton of shots.
Magnus Rasmussen, the team leading scorer with three goals is a player to be wary of. He plays as a midfielder, but can join attacks and pounce on balls. Showing why he is the teams top scorer. Defender Bryan Burke (not to be confused with former Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke) is the teams leading assist man with two.
A little fun fact about Louisville City. They have an affiliation deal with newly expanded MLS side Orlando City and Orlando is allowed to send over players to Louisville whenever. They did so with current loanee Sidney Rivera.
For the first time in six games, TFC II enters a match with a win. It is a good change of pace for the team which early on had defensive problems. It seems that ever since Skylar Thomas joined the team after his injury, the defence seems to be clicking.
Each player has contributed in one way or another, and now seem to all be moving together better. Head coach Jason Bent stressed how important it was for his time to play smart defensively. The transitions they make and the decisions they choose were areas the team needed to fix early on. However, in the past two games, it seems maybe they have figured out their groove and can hopefully get wins in the process.
Since most of the bench players received a call on Thursday, expect the team to look different then two days ago. TFC II would have a boast up front with leading scorer Mo Babouli back from suspension. However, with the way Massimo Mirabelli and Edwin Rivas played, missing Babouli wasn't the worst thing for the club.
Players like Anthony Osorio (who came on very late last game) and Emeka Ononye could make their first starts for TFC II.
The team hopes to head home on May 23rd with back to back wins, but a draw wouldn't be a bad result either. Early on in the season, it was clear they had a lack of experience. With eight games under their belt, that experience has grown and their defensively ability has changed. They seems to know where each other will go and are able to make great long balls and through balls that lead to some really good chances.
After TFC II's huge win on Thursday, I think they can pull off another win in Louisville and return home with nine points in eight games.
You can watch this game live at torontofc.ca/live at 7:30 PM EST.