Back on the road following their home opener and a bye week, Toronto FC II extended their unbeaten streak to two matches with a 0-0 draw against Ottawa Fury FC on Saturday afternoon – it was their second-straight such result.
Once more the lineup changed, as is the norm with TFC II. Sergio Camargo got the start in midfield following his dynamic substitute cameo against Rochester, while Jordan Hamilton made his first appearance of the season, up top in tandem with Ben Spencer.
The back three of Mitch Taintor, Brandon Aubrey, and Jelani Peters, as well as keeper Angelo Cavalluzzo, were the only unchanged sections of the pitch. Anthony Osorio and Luca Uccello were inserted back in, while Brian James and Oyvind Alseth retained their positions in central midfield and right wing-back, respectively.
Playing in their home opener, the Fury were eager to put that advantage to good use, starting well with a series of half-chances, though not a one was clear cut enough to bother describing. More of a general menace, while TFC II played cautiously, their mantra of clean-sheets as the base for success was evident.
Whenever Ottawa got into half-decent position it was snuffed out easily enough, nowhere near last-ditch defending territory, more in the vein of the no nonsense, play it safe kind.
From the start there was some evidence of a heightened physical battle, Taintor put a crunching block on Sito Seoane in the 8th minute, blocking his progress, but the play was pulled back for an early tug that impeded the Ottawa attacker's movement.
The ensuing free-kick from Ryan Williams caused Cavalluzzo some problems as it knuckled, but the keeper was able to punch it straight up in the air and collect it before any damage could be done.
Toronto's best look of the half would come in the 27th minute, when Camargo got on the ball atop the Ottawa box, but the defense swarmed and neither he, nor Hamilton, could find the space to get off a shot.
The first bit of controversy would come in the 30th minute when Eddie Edward surged into the TFC II box down the right. Osorio attempted to get a foot on the ball, bringing down Edward, only for the referee to waive away any appeals for a penalty kick. The soccer gods took note.
TFC had their best spell of possession shortly thereafter, only for it to be interrupted by the Fury's best look of the half. Andrae Campbell found space on the left to delivery a whipped ball into the area. It was beyond the stretch of Jamar Dixon – a shove from Aubrey helped in that regard – but fell neatly for Steevan Dos Santos who thundered a shot on target, necessitating a fine save from Cavalluzzo to keep the game tied at zeros.
Edward again proved the catalyst for Ottawa's most threatening moves, getting past Peters wide right to surge into the area. He attempted to pick out Dos Santos with a cut-back, but Aubrey was on hand to calmly cut out the danger.
The second half began much as the first, with Ottawa on the front foot and Toronto not giving them a sniff of goal, exemplified by Aubrey again being in the right place for a key block in the 57th minute to deny Dos Santos a strike on goal.
Cavalluzzo again came up big in the 61st minute for a vital save on a tight-angled Campbell shot after a poor TFC turnover allowed Dos Santos to find him down the left.
Jason Bent made a pair of substitutions in the 62nd minute, bringing Ricardo John and Jordan McCrary on for Ben Spencer and Sergio Camargo.
Peters would make an excellent tackle on Seoane in the 69th minute, showing great hustle and superb timing to track the troublesome forward run and intervene. He would pay the price for his efforts, picking up a knock in the process that would see him replaced by Brandon Onkony ten minutes later due to its effects.
Ottawa made a pair of substitutions themselves, bringing on Gerardo Bruna in the 73rd and Tucker Hume in the 81st, the latter of which would spark life in the final ten minutes.
On the pitch for mere seconds, Hume charged into the area only to be dispossessed by a fine tackle from James in the area. Shockingly, the referee, perhaps with his missed call from the first half in mind, whistled play and pointed to the spot. The soccer gods were sated; balance restored.
As the players jostled around the arc before the kick was taken, Campbell appeared to lash out at Taintor, with either a forceful shirk or an actual punch – replays were inconclusive, nor did they show what preceded the response. Regardless, he was shown a red card; re-raising the ire of the aforementioned gods, tilting them in the opposite direction.
Bruna then stepped to the spot, beating Cavalluzzo with his left-footed effort, only to see it carom off the post to the keeper's right, sparing TFC II defeat and making all right in the universe once again.
Now with the man advantage, Toronto looked to maximize the final throes of the action. Hamilton, who had largely been starved of service all night, finally got in position for a crack on goal, only to see his shot blocked just inside the area. He claimed handball, but his desires went unanswered. Above, it had been deemed that a 0-0 draw was the correct result.
In the end, a point each was likely fair. Ottawa would have wanted more from their home opener, but Toronto had earned their share of the spoils with a calm defensive performance on the road.
Highlights are not available for distribution at the moment, but can be viewed here, at torontofc.ca.
As usual, a full replay of the match is archived on YouTube. And post-match comments from the Fury can be viewed in their official recap. Shout out to the Kings of the North who made the trek for the match; they were clearly audible at times throughout the match.
Cavalluzzo, who made a crucial pair of saves, was justly named the man of the match – espressos on him next week.
Having made adjustments following the seven goals conceded in Florida, TFC II have now kept consecutive clean-sheets against a pair of veteran sides, Rochester and Ottawa.
Up next they travel to Louisville and then Pittsburgh before returning home for a three-match stand.
TFC II – Luca Uccello 18’ (Caution)
TFC II – Jordan McCrary 74’ (Caution)
TFC II – Brandon Aubrey 84’ (Caution)
OTT – Andrae Campbell 84’ (Ejection)
Toronto FC II (W-L-D): 1-2-2 5pts.
Ottawa Fury FC (W-L-D): 1-2-1 4pts.
Toronto FC II – Angelo Cavalluzzo; Mitchell Taintor ©, Brandon Aubrey, Jelani Peters (Brandon Onkony 79’); Brian James, Luca Uccello, Sergio Camargo (Jordan McCrary 63’), Anthony Osorio, Oyvind Alseth; Ben Spencer (Ricardo John 63’), Jordan Hamilton
Substitutes Not Used: Brogan Engbers, Liam Fraser, Ryan Telfer, Shaan Hundal
Ottawa Fury FC – Callum Irving; Onua Obasi (Meilleur Giguère 90+2’), Ramon Martin Del Campo, Shane McEleney; Eddie Edward (Tucker Hume 81’), Andrae Campbell, Jamar Dixon, Lance Rozeboom ©, Steevan Dos Santos, Ryan Williams, Jose Seoane (Gerardo Bruna 73’)
Substitutes Not Used: David Paulmin, Thomas, Kyle Venter, Jonathan Barden, Sergio Manesio
|Toronto FC II||Ottawa Fury FC|
|Toronto FC II||Ottawa Fury FC|
|Shots – 6||Shots – 10|
|Shots on Target – 0||Shots on Target – 4|
|Blocked Shots – 2||Blocked Shots – 3|
|Possession – 52.4%||Possession – 47.6%|