TFC II are still on their two week bye-week, which has become something to get used to for this team. It is now their fifth bye week of the season and are looking to regroup after drawing a tough Harrisburg City side.
The game seemed very one sided with the Islanders having the majority of chances, throwing 10 shots on goal, while TFC II was only able to muster up three. One part of the game that TFC II and Toronto FC fans should be proud of was the play of keeper Quillan Roberts, who made 10 saves to keep the club in this game.
A team that was struggling with defensive issues, seems to now have worked on playing stronger defence. However, it has come at time where the team's offensive looks to have slowed down, having not scored a goal in three straight games.
"It's going to take time." said TFC II head coach Jason Bent about the offensive struggles the team seems to be in. "It's also just trying to find your rhythm and getting understanding of your relationship with various teammates."
The draw in Harrisburg is now TFC II's second straight shutout. The key to the team's strong defense? Communication. "The communication through the backline. Me, Wes and Skylar and also Mark-Anthony too are starting to know what each other likes." said TFC II centre back Adam Bouchard, who has played some solid defence as of late.
The team is now close to embarking on a crazy July schedule that will see the team play eight straight home games. Bent thinks that the team has prove they can handle the demands of being away from home. "I think the team chemistry has improved over our course of the weeks with our travel. They've never looked fazed by the amount of road games. To us, [the road games] have flown by."
Bent then added that, "We have to learn how to play at home as well. Being a dictator to the opposition, controlling the game and creating the majority of the chances."
"Essentially we have nine points in ten games, nine of them on the road. Ideally if you take a point from your road games and win your home games, you're [about] in the Championship."
Crazy Ending in Harrisburg
The game against Harrisburg was a hard fought draw, especially at the end when the Islanders threw everything they had at the TFC II net and almost got a last second goal out of it. "If I'm honest I thought they were going to score at that point in time." said coach Bent.
"But the boys were resilient. We made some key plays. Raheem Edwards on the post on the first incident cleared one off the line and then Quillan Roberts made a save on the post. That's the nature of football."
A lost for words defender Adam Bouchard couldn't believe what was going on. "I couldn't believe it to be honest. We got pretty lucky on the goal line. Also Q's (Quillan Roberts) save at the end. Then on the other side when Mo (Babouli) got that chance. I honestly couldn't believe it."
TFC II will be back at BMO on the June 27th when they take on a former affiliate in the Wilmington Hammerheads. Coach Bent says both teams have a similarity. "They play a similar system to us. They got a holding midfield Nicholson whose two footed, he's got a good range of passing. They got a target striker who I watched against Charleston. He's a pretty big player that can bring teammates into the game. You've also got Jane, a sort of Maryland alumni whose got a bit of pace. He plays at the top, so he's quite tricky. Then you got some other journeyman players."
Bent then went on to add that, "I think they're better than their record shows."
For a coach having to see that mad scramble is hard, but for a goalie in that situation, it must be very taunting task to shut down the opposition. "All I'm thinking is lets keep that zero, lets keep the clean sheet." said keeper Roberts.
Roberts was also saved by a Skylar Thomas clearance that ended an almost clear shot on goal. "[I] Gave him a slap on the back, saying good job and keep it up until the last whistle." said Roberts about what he told Thomas at that moment.
Goalkeeper Quillan Roberts has been busy this season, being a part of the first team while Joe Bendik recovers from an injury and even making starts for the second team. Roberts has impressed many so far this season. "I think whenever he's been called upon, he's performed quite well."
Roberts even earned himself a USL Team of the Week honour after making 10 saves to keep TFC II in their game last weekend. The soft spoken Roberts said he was excited to be part of the Team of the Week. However, Bent thinks that his keeper shouldn't have been so heavily relied on, "Unfortunately you don't want your goalkeeper to be in the Team of the Week after having to make that many saves. Fair play to him, he performed well and came up with some good saves to keep us in the match."
"He has a big presence on the field. Very vocal, and makes big saves when you need him to." said defender Adam Bouchard about how big of an asset Roberts is to the team.
Roberts was one of a few Toronto FC players that were loaned out to the Hammerheads last season, starting 17 games for them and posted a 5-4-8 record. He says that, "It would be good playing them again. Seeing some faces that I know."