TFC II looks to continue their home stand tonight when they take second place club Charleston Battery. The last time these two clubs faced off, it was a memorable one the young Reds. The Battery's were TFC II's first opponent in the USL and the game started well for the new club. Mo Babouli and Jordan Hamilton scored their clubs first two goals ever. However that game ended in a 2-2 draw after the Battery scored in added time.
Not an Easy Opponent in Charleston
Since that opening match, the Battery have become one of the leagues top clubs. They have recorded only two losses, drawn seven times, and have won nine games. An impressive record for the experienced club. The Battery have been successful in their games, thanks due to the play of striker Kelly Dane, whose nine goals is good enough for fourth in the league. Thanks to Dane, and his teammates, the Battery have scored the fifth most goals in league play so far.
Though the team has scored many goals, the same cannot be said for allowing them. They rank third in the USL with only conceding 17 goals through 18 games played. TFC II has to be wary of striker Ricky Garbanzo, who is second on the team in goals and points.
The Battery will be without three of their players this evening all being out due to traveling issues, but will meet their club tomorrow when they take the Rochester Rhinos. All three are big losses for the Battery, but the biggest lost might be the clubs best playmaker Maikel Chang, whose six assists is the best in the club.
Even though the club is coming off four straight loses at home, they will be with five core starters tonight. Captain Chris Mannella, defender Adam Bouchard, full back Raheem Edwards, striker Mo Babouli and midfielder Manny Aparico will all be with the club tonight, after missing games due to being part of the U-23 Canadian squad that participated in the Pan Am games.
The arrival of Toronto FC 70th overall draft pick Sal Bernal could even make his debut tonight, as he has been training at home in Las Vegas, due to visa issues. Even defender Skylar Thomas could be apart of the club tonight, after spending time with the first team on Wednesday when they took on EPL side Sunderland.
Strong defensive play has helped the club recently, and now with the recruitments of Mannella, Aparicio, Babouli and Bernal, TFC II could aid that offensive problem they've had so far.
TFC II was handed a very difficult loss on Tuesday to bitter rivals FC Montreal, but now have the chance to bounce back, again. It has been a struggle at TFC II's new home so far this season, but tonight might be the night to get that first point they need and deserve.
I predict TFC II will draw the Battery tonight, as they will not be able to field their starting keeper and two key starters. If TFC II take advantage and don't let up on their opponent, tonight could be the night the club celebrates its first points at the Ontario Soccer Centre and maybe their first win.
The game can be seen tonight at 8:00 PM EST at torontofc.ca/live. Make sure you support the young Reds as they continue to push for that last playoff spot.