Watch the Game Live Below at 7:00 PM Eastern
TFC II is coming off yet another bye week. It is the second time this season where the team entered a bye week after losing badly. The young Reds could not handle the more experienced Pittsburgh Riverhounds that seemed to just toy with the young team.
That was two weeks ago, and TFC II now embarks on yet another daunting task. They play the first place Rochester Rhinos again on the road. If that wasn't hard enough, they then head to St. Louis on Thursday to the play the Saint Louis FC squad. After that, they head straight to Louisville to face Louisville City FC.
The bye week for TFC II was good for a team who did not play their best football two weeks ago in Pittsburgh, and now they hope to start their long road trip with a win, or at least a draw, against a more experienced Rhinos side.
The Rhinos are a founding USL PRO member, joining the league in 2011 and being founded in 1996, playing in the USL First Division (now USL PRO) and the USL A League (becoming the USL First Division). They won the 1999 Lamar Hunt U.S Open, and three A League Championships. They play out of the 13,768 Sahlen's Stadium. The Rhinos even have an affiliation with MLS side New England Revolution, and have players Timi Mulgrew and Tyler Ruddy on loan in the USL.
The Rhinos now are first place, starting the season at 5-0-2 with 17 points. They have given up the fewest amount of goals allowed (0.43 avg), tied for first in shutouts (4) and have the lowest goals against average. This success of the team has to be given to having such a strong back line. Defenders Tony Walls, Pat McMahon, and Vassilios Apostolopoulos have played a big part in their teams defensive success.
Their defence isn't just the key part of the teams success. Forwards Christian Volesky, Alex Dixon and Johnny Mendoza have been delivering goals for their team. Volesky comes off scoring a brace in Montreal and being named to the USL Team of The Week. Volesky's four, Dixon's three and Mendoza's two goals have been key pieces to why the Rhinos are doing so well this season.
Jason Bent has said that his team is looking to "continue looking at ourselves. We've analysed them, and we know their strengths and weaknesses."
"With the ball, our sort of same playing style, trying to dictate the game to them and create chances and hopefully score some goals." added Bent about what style his team look to use against the Rhinos.
TFC II will have a challenging week ahead for them. Plus four of their starters, Jay Chapman, Chris Mannella, Jordan Hamilton and Quillan Roberts all made the trip to Montreal on Wednesday when TFC unfortunately lost their first leg of Voyageurs Cup action against rival Montreal Impact.
Jason Bent has said that "If they're fit, their available." However, look for some of those, including others on the team to be substituted tonight, to make sure everyone is fit for their next game on Thursday in St. Louis.
I predict TFC II actually draw against the Rhinos tonight. It may be hard, but with defensive addition Emeka Ononye, then maybe TFC II can stop their leaking defence and shut down Voleskey and Dixion, if he's fit to play.