Toronto FC II dropped a second-straight on their travels Saturday night, falling 2-1 to the Richmond Kickers at City Stadium in Virginia.
The side started brightly with Jordan Hamilton finding the back of the net inside of four minutes, but Richmond responded less than a minute later and found the winner in the second half to leapfrog Toronto in the standings.
Jason Bent once more made several changes to his starting lineup. First teamers Hamilton and Oyvind Alseth were inserted back in – at striker and right wing-back, respectively, displacing Aikim Andrews and Jordan McCrary. Matt Srbely, who debuted last weekend in Bethlehem, started in midfield in place of Liam Fraser, while even the back-line, due in part to the suspension of Julian Dunn, saw changes with both Brandon Aubrey (centre) and Brandon Onkony (left) returning to the back-three.
A lively start saw Alseth win a free-kick near the corner flag in the third minute. Brian James and Ryan Telfer stood over it, with the left-footed Telfer sending a low ball towards the near-post. Lurking, Hamilton got the final touch, putting a finish past Travis Worra in the Richmond goal in the fourth minute.
But the Kickers responded immediately with a fine header from Sunny Jane in the fifth. A ball from Alex Lee on the right was met by a firm header. Angelo Cavalluzzo in the TFC goal got a hand to it, but could not keep it out, pushing it off the underside of the bar and in.
Undaunted, TFC II resumed the break-neck, high risk play that had given them the breakthrough. It may have been their best performance of the season, result aside.
Telfer whisked a ball from the left through the goalmouth in the sixth minute and another corner kick from the left wing-back was cleared a minute later.
Richmond would have their looks: Jane, after a long run, sending a left-footer wide of the right post in the eighth minute and Mitch Taintor was needed to interrupt a Kickers move that was fostered by some good interplay between Jane and Fred Owusu Sekyere short after.
In the 16th minute, Taintor picked out Telfer with a fine cross-field ball in the midst of a good spell of Toronto possession, and then found Malik Johnon on the left, who cut in-field for a low shot from near the arc. It was bound for the bottom left-corner of goal, but Worra was alert to make the save.
Taintor again was involved in the build-up in the 20th minute when he linked up with Alseth down the right, leading to a darting run down the outside of the box from Srbely, but his cross was cut out by Oscar Umar's sliding block.
Two minutes later Taintor would get on the end of a free-kick at the back-post, but James' ball was a touch overhit, leaving his teammate with too much of an angle to make up, allowing Worra to make an easy save.
The TFC II captain was regularly pushing forward from his right centre-back role, ripping an audacious shot from distance on goal in the 24th minute that bent away from the top right-corner.
Absorbing the pressure, Richmond sought and found chances of their own. That combination of Sekyere and Jane nearly broke down the middle once more in the 26th minute, only for the presence of Aubrey and Alseth to nip the ball away at the last moment and clear.
Aubrey would make another vital defensive play in the 32nd minute, getting a touch on a troublesome ball into the area from the right with Jane lurking off his back-shoulder. Heart in mouth stuff, his clearance whizzing by the near-post a little too close for comfort.
Having used so much energy in the opening half hour, the close to the first half was relatively calm and both sides were satisfied to enter the break with the score level.
Back at it, TFC II nearly nabbed another early goal when Telfer hung up a ball to the back-post from the left. Hamilton made good contact, but his header went agonizingly wide of the left-post.
Johnson showed more of his darting, elusive elegance in the 52nd minute, cutting in from the left once more for a shot, but it was straight at the keeper and lacking the necessary power to beat Worra from that range.
Seconds later Hamilton was sent clear on goal down the right-channel, only for Worra to stay big and get enough of a touch to keep the striker from finding his second of the night.
Even Aubrey got in on the attacking play, ripping a right-footed free-kick from some 30 yards that curled inches wide of the target.
Richmond made the first move come the 60th minute, replacing Yudai Imura, who was at risk of a second booking, with Franck Tayou, a big target man. It was a swap that paid near-immediate dividends, changing the complexion of the match.
Cavalluzzo would be called upon to make a key save in the 61st minute, diving to his right, after Jane surged down the left-side of the area, crossing up Aubrey in the process.
Srbely would show good attacking instincts in the 64th minute, driving into the area himself and getting off a tight-angle shot that was tipped wide by Worra for a corner. He was then shown a yellow three minutes later for some combative midfield play, exhibiting both sides of his game in short order.
Despite Toronto dictating large passages of play – they would end the match with 52.3% of possession, 21 crosses to Richmond's 8, and 16 shots to Richmond's 12... on the road, no less – it was the hosts who stole the points in the 68th minute.
A long ball forward from Braeden Troyer put Tayou into the area, two TFC defenders collapsed on him, preventing his forward movement, but not dealing with the ball, which fell to Matthew Bolduc, who jinked outside to the left to get off a shot.
His left-footer took a touch off of Aubrey, deflecting past Cavalluzzo and into the TFC II net.
Bent would go to his bench in the 75th minute, replacing Shaan Hundal and Srbely with Andrews and Dante Campbell.
Two minutes later, Andrews would have a glorious look at an equalizer, finding space for a free-header on the end of yet another Telfer cross, but he could not made clean contact, sending it wide.
McCrary, who had earlier shown his skill at dealing with a failed corner flag while warming up, replaced Alseth in the 79th minute as Bent's final change. He was shown yellow in the 84th minute for a shove in midfield.
Toronto would have one last look at goal in stoppage-time when space opened up for Telfer to sight a chance at goal having cut in from the left, but his right-footer was always curling away from the far-post.
An archive of the match is available at YouTube and this was a rather entertaining one.
With the three points, Richmond moved off of the bottom of the table, relegating TFC II to that ignominious position. While unfortunate that the side's play was not rewarded, they can take plenty of positives from a match where they put in a good showing. On another night, one slightly more clinical in front of goal, they would have take the haul home.
Up next for the Young Reds is another tricky away fixture against East-leading Charlotte, who will likely be looking for a measure of revenge given the rude welcome they received at BMO Field in the 2-2 draw on August 9.
And then the fun begins, with six of the last seven at home.
TFC II – Jordan Hamilton (Ryan Telfer) 4’
RIC – Sunny Jane (Alex Lee) 5’
RIC – Matthew Bolduc 68’
RIC – Yudai Imura 27’ (Caution)
TFC II – Matthew Srbley 67’ (Caution)
TFC II – Jordan McCrary 84’ (Caution)
TFC II – Dante Campbell 90+4’ (Caution)
|Toronto FC II||Richmond Kickers|
|Toronto FC II||Richmond Kickers|
|Shots – 16||Shots – 12|
|Shots on Target – 6||Shots on Target – 4|
|Blocked Shots – 1||Blocked Shots – 4|
|Possession – 52.3%||Possession – 47.7%|
Toronto FC II – Angelo Cavalluzzo; Mitchell Taintor©, Brandon Aubrey, Brandon Onkony; Oyvind Alseth (Jordan McCrary 79’), Brian James, Matthew Srbely (Dante Campbell 75’), Malik Johnson, Ryan Telfer; Shaan Hundal (Aikim Andrews 75’), Jordan Hamilton
Substitutes Not Used: Mark Pais, Liam Fraser, Ricardo John, Cyrus Rollocks
Richmond Kickers – Travis Worra; Alex Lee, Evan Lee, William Yomby©, Mallan Roberts, Braeden Troyer; Yudai Imura (Franck Tayou 60’), Oscar Umar, Matthew Bolduc, Fred Owusu Sekyere, Luiz Fernando (Raul Gonzalez 89’); Sunny Jane (Jackson Eskay 86’)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcel DeBellis, Oliver Minatel, Mikey Minutillo
Toronto FC II (W-L-D): 4-14-6 18pts.
Richmond Kickers (W-L-D): 4-12-8 20pts.