Last night, TFC II took on AS Roma Primavera in a friendly match. The game had to be decided by penalties, after TFC II found the net twice and Roma's primavera squad were able to fight back in the 85th minute to tie the match.
The game started off well for both sides, as it seemed they were trying to figure themselves out before making the first move. TFC II started off with some early chances on goal from Raheem Edwards. After that, it was fellow Pan Am participants Mo Babouli and Manny Aparicio who tried to have attempts on net. The strong play Roma defenders Eros De Santis and Andrea Paolelli didn't make things easier for the young Reds.
TFC II head coach Jason Bent didn't start USL goalie of the week Quillan Roberts or Alex Bono in this friendly. He handed the gloves over to Phil Di Bennardo who made his TFC II debut. Di Bennardo felt the pressure early on, but was able to make some key saves to keep the game scoreless.
For the last 20 minutes of the first half, both teams continued to move the ball around nicely, but neither had anything really solid going for them. That was until added time before the second half, when winger Edorado Soleri put his side up before the whistle was blown for half.
That lead didn't last long though, as the man who started the game off with a good chance on goal, Raheem Edwards, pulled off a nice chip over Roma's Lorenzo Cristano and tied the game up at one going into half.
After half, Bent decided to do a massive switch and took off his whole starting XI and brought on his bench players, leaving on Sal Bernal on to gain some more match fitness.
Just like the first half, a lot of good ball movement was played by TFC II and Roma Primavera and both tried to find the go ahead goal. Soleri almost had his chance at a brace, but his header missed the mark. Then striker Edwin Rivas had nice head on a ball, but that too missed the goal.
Whatever Roma did, it seemed TFC II tried to replicate, and vice-versa. Both teams saw how each other played, and wanted to end the deadlock badly.
When this match looked like it was going to penalties with 10 minutes left, substitute Marcos Nunes found the net off a Rivas pass to put TFC II up 2-1. All was looking well for a team many didn't think were going to show up. However TFC II, for most of the match looked very composed and calm and played the ball very smart.
All was looking well for TFC II, until Roma's Conor Borg scored in the 85th and tied the match up all over again. 90 minutes didn't solve anything, so both teams went straight to a shootout.
Roma went up first and scored. Then striker Mo Babouli was up and his attempt hit the left post and then the right. A cruel way to be denied. Roma went on to go five-for-five on penalties and were awarded the winners.
A Great Experience
AS Roma manager Alberto De Rossi had nothing but great things to say about playing TFC II and said that, "It was a great team to play against. I was especially impressed by the small quick players that TFC had.".
De Rossi then continued by saying that, "It was definitely a great night, a great atmosphere. We will definitely take this back as a great memory to Rome."
TFC II head coach Jason Bent talked about how important this match was for his side, and what just how big it is to play so well against a top European club like Roma. "Hopefully they picked up little things. But to know that it also brings a bit of confidence as well. We played against a top european side of similar age and pretty much matched them for the course on ninety minutes.
"I think there is a lot of positives to take from this game."
TFC II's next match will be on Saturday August 1st at the Ontario Soccer Centre, as the young Reds take on Louisville City at 3:00 PM EST.