Toronto FC II extended their shutout streak to 310 minutes with a 0-0 draw away to Louisville City FC on Saturday night – it was their third-straight such result, following scoreless draws at home against Rochester and away to Ottawa.
There were no surprises in the starting eleven, though there were a few changes: namely, Jordan McCrary and Shaan Hundal were given the nods at right-back and up top, respectively. Hundal lined up alongside Jordan Hamilton, who made a second straight USL start after debuting against Ottawa.
The first indication that TFC would be under pressure for much of the night came within the first minute, when George Davis IV found himself in space down the left-side of the area. Dangerous though the chance looked, Louisville's top-scorer was neither able to get off a shot of his own, nor pick out a teammate with a pass, the opportunity fizzling out
Louisville's next look came in the 6th minute when Niall McCabe was played into space down the right-side of the area, but Mitch Taintor was back quick with a fine recovering run to touch out for a corner kick.
Come the 10th minute, Brian Ownby, electric from kickoff, got in on the fun with a glorious chance, only for his right-footed effort to be parried over by Angelo Cavalluzzo, once more between the pipes for TFC II.
Much though under the cosh, TFC would find moments of their own. A pull-back from Hundal in the 12th minute picked out Hamilton, but his attempt was saved.
The respite was momentary, as Cavalluzzo was called on again to come up big in a flurry of chances over the ensuing eight minutes. He tipped one attempt over the bar in the 14th minute, then Taintor was on hand once more with a big tackle to deny Luke Spencer an opportunity in the 17th. Spencer nearly got on the end of a cross a minute later and the minute after that Ownby was in acres of space down the left via a Spencer ball, only for Cavalluzzo to get a foot on the attempt, directing it on to the bar.
The storm weathered, TFC would play their way into the match as the half continued.
Anthony Osorio got forward well and looked to pick out Hamilton with his left-sided cross in the 27th minute, but it was a little above the reach of the striker's leap. And in the 41st minute McCrary showed some excellent close control to tiptoe along the end-line before attempting to pick out Hamilton. Unfortunately, the pull-back was cut out by Louisville's defense.
Before the half-time whistle blew, TFC II had one final chance to break the deadlock, after a series of unsuccessful corners saw Brian James' follow-up ball fall kindly, if awkwardly, to Brandon Aubrey. Aubrey attempted to settle it before hitting on the half-volley, but it was blocked in the congested Louisville area.
The sides entered the break all even, scoreless.
Louisville was back at their attacking ways minutes into the second frame.
Spencer turned in the area to get off a left-footer, but Cavalluzzo was equal to it in the 50th minute. Louisville then called for a penalty when both Davis IV and Paolo DelPiccolo went down in the area, only for the referee to waive play on. Seconds later, from a right-sided cross, Cavalluzzo was forced into another big save, getting a strong hand on the ball into a troublesome area – it was unclear whether Spencer was able to direct it on goal or the initial delivery was goal-bound, either way, the keeper's intervention was required.
Buoyed by their keeper's heroics, TFC II would once more look to seize their moments. McCrary had a crack from range in the 54th minute after a neat flowing move found him in space on the right – his attempt went wide, while Hamilton was lurking for either a through-ball or a rebound. In the 56th Luca Uccello threaded Sergio Camargo down the left-side of the box, but he was unable to find Hamilton, who was a little slow to react to the chance with a strong near-post run.
Each side made changes around the hour mark, Liam Fraser replacing Uccello in the 60th minute. Fraser would be called upon almost immediately, tracking back to prevent Spencer from getting off a clean shot after a neat cut in the area from the striker looked promising.
Cavalluzzo would be the central figure once more in the 66th when a cascading move from Louisville set-up Oscar Jimenez for a glorious chance. He rifled a right-footer towards goal, but the keeper was equal to it. Fortunately for TFC II, the left-back rushed his chance, opting for a toe-poke rather than attempt to bend a curler beyond the reach of the Toronto keeper.
Again, as the attacking waves subsided, TFC II found chances to go forward.
Aikim Andrews replaced Hundal in the 70th minute, slightly tweaking the formation, opening up new possibilities. His inclusion seemed to spark something in Hamilton, who began dropping deeper to get on the ball, before laying off and surging forward.
Just such a play in the 74th minute led to another good delivery from Osorio. Hamilton got on the ball in midfield, switched it out wide then charged into the box. It was a disappointment that the two could not connect.
The momentum shift in TFC's favour seemed to continue with the inclusion of Ryan Telfer, who replaced Osorio in the 77th minute.
Hamilton again was the initiator in the 79th minute, laying McCrary down the right. His pull-back was met by Telfer high at the opposite side after Andrews had either missed it, or dummied, but the shot was deflected for a corner kick.
The good spell of Toronto pressure continued and Taintor was able to get on the end of a corner in the 82nd minute only for it to be blocked en route to goal. Neither Hamilton, nor Andrews were able to get a foot on the loose ball and the opportunity withered.
A quick throw-in in the same minute saw TFC get their best look of the night with Hamilton in clear on goal down the left-side of the area via a Brian James slipped pass, but Louisville keeper, Tim Dobrowolski, was alert, getting a firm kick save on the left-footed attempt. The angle was a little tight, but Hamilton dropped to his knees, hands in face, after being denied.
A succession of quick TFC half-chances would follow. Fraser got a shot off after a corner kick bounced around the area – it was blocked in the goalmouth, while Andrews was slid in down the left by a Camargo ball. He did well to get off a shot, but Dobrowolski was on hand once more to deny.
With legs tiring and the game opening up, Louisville would be given a great chance to open the scoring in the 85th minute when Oyvind Alseth got into a tangled of legs with Ownby atop the Toronto box, but Jimenez's ensuing free-kick was easily handled by Cavalluzzo.
As stoppage-time ticked down, the Toronto keeper, who was undoubtedly the man of the match, was forced into one final save.
A miscommunication between Aubrey and his keeper saw the centre-back head out a right-sided cross when Cavalluzzo was there to collect, gifting Louisville a 93rd minute corner. Kyle Smith got on the end of the final hope delivery, directing a strong downward header towards goal, but Cavalluzzo was there to smother. He was made to pay for his efforts, as DelPiccolo made a late attempt to get a touch on the ball, catching the keeper with an errant shin/boot. That allowed the Toronto keeper to milk a few more seconds off the clock.
Though Louisville would have another late corner – this one in the 96th minute of play – neither side would find the breakthrough. The stellar performance of Cavalluzzo had earned his side a point against one of final unbeaten sides in USL on their home turf, an awkward baseball-diamond-turned-soccer-pitch.
Jason Bent and TFC II will look to carry the energy and confidence gained from such a performance, especially the good chances and shutout streak, into their next match: a midweek fixture in Pittsburgh against the Riverhounds on Wednesday night.
TFC II – Brian James 29’ (Caution)
LOU – Luke Spencer 61’ (Caution)
LOU – Richard Ballard 80’ (Caution)
|Toronto FC II||Louisville City FC|
|Toronto FC II||Louisville City FC|
|Shots – 12||Shots – 19|
|Shots on Target – 3||Shots on Target – 11|
|Blocked Shots – 4||Blocked Shots – 1|
|Possession – 41.0%||Possession – 59.0%|
Toronto FC II (W-L-D): 1-2-3 6pts.
Louisville City FC (W-L-D): 3-0-3 12pts.
Toronto FC II – Angelo Cavalluzzo; Mitchell Taintor ©, Brandon Aubrey, Oyvind Alseth; Brian James, Luca Uccello (Liam Fraser 60’), Sergio Camargo, Jordan McCrary Anthony Osorio (Ryan Telfer 77’); Shaan Hundal (Aikim Andrews 69’), Jordan Hamilton
Substitutes Not Used: Brogan Engbers, Brandon Onkony, Malik Johnson, Aidan Daniels
Louisville City FC – Tim Dobrowloski; Kyle Smith, Oscar Jimenez, Sean Totsch, Tarek Morad; Paolo Delpiccolo ©, Niall Mccabe (Richard Ballard 60’), Guy Abend (Devon Speedy Williams 45’), Brian Ownby, George Davis IV; Luke Spencer (Ilija Ilic 68’)
Substitutes Not Used: Micah Bledsoe, Paco Craig, Sean Reynolds, Mark-Anthony Kaye