TFC II was able to handle both the crazy weather and the Wilmington Hammerheads Saturday night, and were also able to come out with three crucial points to move them up the Eastern standings.
For many who went to the Toronto FC match versus DC United, in which the conditions didn't help TFC's difficulties beating Bill Hamid, the weather was intense. Wind and rain played a big factor in that game, and the rain stuck around for TFC II as well.
TFC II played their second home match of the season, against a former TFC affiliate in the Hammerheads. The match started out slow, but the Hammerheads gained a lot of possession early on. It was all Wilmington it seemed until around the 20th minute, when TFC II started finding their rhythm.
A regular theme early on seemed to be calls going in favour of the away team over the young Reds. Before the match, head coach Jason Bent said he wanted his club to be more aggressive, and it looks like they showed him how aggressive they can be.
The young Reds first chance on goal came in the 21st minute, when a low cross was sent to striker Jordan Hamilton, who got a foot on it, but it went just wide of the right post.
The calls by the referee were again called into question when Manuel Aparicio was taken down in the box in the 40th minute, but no call was given.
After battling to get shots on goal, striker Jordan Hamilton got by one defender and had a go inside the box, but was denied by the Hammerhead keeper in the 45th minute.
Then, right before the half, Mo Babouli lined up to take a corner and placed a nice ball right to Hamilton who converted a header into the net and put the young Reds on the scoreboard. It was Hamilton's second goal of the season, and first since the opening match versus the Charleston Battery.
The rain was still a big factor in the second half, and it seemed to kind of slow the build up play from both sides. With the rain and being down 1-0, the Hammerheads seemed to become a little frustrated and started to play more aggressive off the ball.
For TFC II, Hamilton looked to be the star performer, having many chances on goal. In the 69th Hamilton was able to move by the Hammerheads defence and even the keeper, but the ball got ahead of him and he was not able to convert.
On the other side of the pitch, the Hammerheads got a great opportunity to level the match, when centre back Skylar Thomas misread a cross and the ball hit his hand in the process. The Hammerheads lined up take a penalty shot and tie the match at one apiece. Quillan Roberts on the other hand didn't want that to happen, and made a very key save to rob the Hammerheads from leveling the score.
"I guessed the right way and I was just going to go all out and I saved it." said Roberts about what he was thinking when he made the save to rob the Hammerheads a goal.
After the save by Roberts, the Hammerheads played a more attacking style and pushed hard to get at least a goal. In the last minute of the game, they brought their goalie for the corner, but were denied by a header which saw the ball get pushed up to half and a two-on-one occurred with the keeper trying to run back. Hamilton almost had his second of the match, but the wet ground seemed to slow his shot down.
TFC II was still able to hold the clean sheet, their third straight game without conceding a goal. The string play by Roberts and Hamilton were the deciders in this match and the young Reds seemed to gain more control in the second half.
"It was a bit scrappy, the weather was bad, but I think we played our game the best we could and we came out with the win," said keeper Quillan Roberts on his team performance in such bad weather.
"We're not really use to it, being from Canada. I think we did well to play in that weather and come out with the three points," added Roberts.
"It's fun playing in the rain, but it's not fun playing in a rainstorm," said goal scorer Jordan Hamilton who poked fun at the weather.
"It was really tough, really gritty. But you just have to outwork the other team," added Hamilton.
Hamilton had different chances to add to his goal total, but it seemed that the wet pitch got in the way. "I'm a little disappointed with that and myself, but I'm glad we won as a team."
Hamilton made a nice move right before half time to have a go on net, but was denied by the Hammerhead keeper. Even though he hasn't scored in awhile now, the Canadian international said, "When I miss a chance like that, you got to score the next one. I made a check draw and lost my defender. I know Mo [Babouli] puts the ball their all the time, so I put my head on it and did my job."
The striker even poked fun at himself saying, "I went in bit of a goal drought. I think my time with the first team, training with that level helped a lot."
TFC II head coach Jason Bent praised his strikers performance and said that, "He did well today. You can see that he has picked up some things from being with the first team and training."
Three straight clean sheets and a sound performance
TFC II may be a club that hasn't seen many goals go in, but what they are showing is a strong defensive unit. Head coach Bent seems to be proud of his teams strong play over the weekend. "Three clean sheets in three games is a fantastic platform to build off of. I thought defensively, not just the back four and the goalkeeper, but the entire team was organized and worked hard."
Bent then added that, "They were focused and they kept their wits about them and didn't get sort of flustered and continued to try and play football."
Bent has been around football for a long time now and has seen teams do well and not play to their potential. The coach looks back at what a former coach told him and said that, "One nothing victories are the hardest, but their the most awarding. Your up against it at times, maybe you might be hanging on. But you build from those types of situations."
The ref seemed to be more in favour of the Hammerheads and it didn't seem like the young Reds were getting any calls. It may be difficult to handle as a coach, but Bent said, "It is what it is. I'm pleased with my players, they competed tonight."