clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Toronto FC II fall on the road against Harrisburg despite Hundal's opener

USL match recap and highlights as the Young Reds lose their final away game of the season at the Harrisburg City Islanders.

USL Photo - TFC II’s Shaan Hundal on the ball Saturday night against the Harrisburg City Islanders
Shaan Hundal scored his third goal of the season to open the scoring on Saturday night in Harrisburg
Harrisburg City Islanders

Toronto FC II lost a third-straight match on Saturday night, dropping a 2-1 result to the Harrisburg City Islanders at FNB Field.

Shaan Hundal opened the scoring for the visitors, but Ropapa Mensah levelled on the stroke of half-time and then added a second five minutes after the restart to keep Harrisburg's faint playoff hopes alive.

Jason Bent shuffled his lineup once more, making changes in defense, attacking midfield, and up top. Lars Eckenrode moved into the middle of the back-three in place of Brandon Aubrey, while Rocco Romeo made his debut days removed from signing a professional contract, taking up the left-sided centre-back spot.

Neither Tsubasa Endoh, nor Jay Chapman were available, so Bent inserted Sergio Camargo and Aidan Daniels into the right and left advanced midfield roles. And two further changes were seen at striker with Malik Johnson and Shaan Hundal coming in for Ben Spencer and Jordan Hamilton.

With the effects of a nine-hour bus ride apparent, Harrisburg were the sharper of the two out of the gates, bossing some 70% of possession through the opening ten minutes.

Cardel Benbow sent a low shot wide of the post inside of three minutes and Frederick Opoku did the same two minutes later. Seconds after that Mouhamed Dabo played Benbow down the right-channel to hit a dangerous ball through the six-yard box towards the back-post leading to a corner.

Harrisburg was on the front foot, keeping TFC II pinned back.

Paul Wilson then nearly found the opener when he surged past Angelo Cavalluzzo in goal, but Julian Dunn was sharp to the danger, recovering well to get in the key block and save a goal.

But, as is so often the case in soccer, Harrisburg's efforts would go unrewarded and Toronto would take the lead in virtually their first foray up-field.

A slippery ball from Camargo sent Hundal in on goal, splitting between the two Harrisburg defenders. He slid the ball wide right to Johnson whose right-footed shot was saved, but Hundal had continued his run to pounce on the rebound, tucking it past Brandon Miller in goal.

Credit is due to Camargo, who not only played the initial ball, but continued into the box, drawing a defender to the back-post, opening up the middle for Hundal.

Stung, the City Islanders would go in search of the equalizer. Benbow was a troublemaker all night, driving up the left-side of the area to get off a tight-angled shot. It appeared to find the outside netting, though a corner was awarded, so Cavalluzzo was judged to have gotten a touch.

Which was unfortunate, because Harrisburg had some sort of corner kick alarm, a quasi-siren that went off whenever one was awarded.

TFC II did well to hold off the pressure of the City Islanders – their best look came in the 31st minute when Opoku cut in to get off a shot, but he could only drag a weak effort wide; though Romeo was called upon to get in a solid block on Benbow in the 41st as well – while doing enough to trouble at the other end on occasion, drawing a trio of yellow cards as the physicality was ramped up – centre-back Tiago Calvano was booked in the 35th for hacking down Johnson, Opoku saw one four minutes later for a late tackle on Jordan McCrary, and Jake Bond got his in the 42nd minute for a similarly overeager challenge on Ryan Telfer..

As has been too often the case this season, TFC II were subjected to a gut punch in virtually the final kick of the half, deep into the two minutes of allotted stoppage-time.

A long ball out of the back from Calvano was flicked on by Pedro Ribeiro at the top of the box, falling into a crowd. Mensah reacted quickest, leaping to get an awkward touch on the ball, forcing a looping effort towards goal. Cavalluzzo responded with a majestic leap of his own and got a touch, but could not prevent it from bounding over the goal-line to equalize the score at ones into half-time.

Disappointed, Toronto emerged from the break intent on making amends for the late concession.

Daniels drove up the left-side in the 47th minute, cutting in to send a right-footer towards the far-post from the top of the box, but it took a touch off a defender and deflected wide. A minute later Camargo again tried to play provider, poking forward for the on-rushing Hundal, but the defenders were alert, touching back to the keeper to clear.

TFC II should have reinstated their lead in the 50th minute when Telfer found space on the left to burst past a pair of static defenders and pick out Johnson at the top of the area with a pull-back. He had plenty of time to settle the ball, but rushed his shot, snatching at the left-footer that sailed high.

And, of course, seconds later the ball was in the back of the Toronto net.

Benbow again was in the middle of the action, surging up the right-side of the box to pick out Mensah at the near-post with a pull-back. The big forward was allowed to turn onto his right-foot, beating Cavalluzzo with a low drive to the far-side of goal.

A wasted chance followed by a momentary switch off again proving TFC II's doom.

That woe was nearly compounded in the 58th minute when Benbow split through a pair of defenders after latching onto an underhit back-pass. Eckenrode did well to recover, forcing the attacker to attempt a cut-back and allowing Dunn to get back and snuff out the chance. Fortunately for the teenage defender, that the ball appeared to strike his hand in the fracas, was not spotted.

Bent when to his bench his the 59th minute, replacing Eckenrode, still gaining fitness after a long injury layoff, with Brandon Onkony, and bringing on the fit-again Luca Uccello for Camargo.

Harrisburg nearly grabbed a third in the 62nd minute when Mensah was again allowed to turn in the area at the near-post, but Cavalluzzo got down quick to make the save.

Mensah was a threat all night, sending a ball wide of the far-post in the 65th minute after Ribeiro had played him down that side, while another Wilson shot needed some alert defending from Onkony to prevent further troubles.

As has been their signature all season, Toronto would not go down quietly. Hundal looked for his second of the night, winning a foot-race to a loose ball in an advanced position, but could not find a shooting position before the defense swarmed around him in the 76th minute.

Bent made his final substitution in the 79th minute, replacing Brian James with Liam Fraser.

Mensah was made to pay for his goals in the 83rd minute when he attempted to win an aerial challenge with Dunn, the young defender getting the better of the attacker, who was left in need of treatment. In the immediate aftermath play continued, drawing a highlight-reel save out of Cavalluzzo when Harrisburg sub Jonathan Mendoza hit a sweet volley on the ball that emerged from the collision.

The City Islanders would make a further pair of subs in the waning minutes, wasting a bit of time and breaking the rhythm TFC II were trying to establish.

Toronto's final chance came in the 88th minute when Daniels tracked down a half-clearance and sent a ball to the back-post. Hundal was lurking, forcing a defensive header out for a corner kick, but the ensuing delivery was eagerly gobbled up by the keeper.

Harrisburg's fresh legs would cause some trouble to a tired Toronto back-line. Mendoza streaked in on goal having forced a turnover out of Romeo, but his low shot trailed wide of the far-post. Seconds later the teenage defender was forced into a yellow card for a healthy shirt tug on Mendoza, who got behind him on a long ball forward.

Aaron Wheeler, another sub, would return the favour in the final minute of play, his shirt pull on Telfer earning him a yellow as well.

Harrisburg would see out the 2-1 home win, keeping their scant playoff hopes alive and sending Toronto back home without a share of the points.

An archive of the match is available on YouTube, but, truth be told, aside from the Hundal goal and the first look at Romeo, it far from a classic.

With the loss, their third-straight, TFC II see a winless run extend to four matches. They return home to close out their season with three in a row at the Ontario Soccer Centre.

All three of their opponents are still very much in the playoff hunt. Louisville City FC, their opponents on Wednesday, September 27 currently top the Eastern Conference, while Bethlehem Steel FC (Friday, October 6) are a single point behind Orlando City B, with two games in hand, for the final berth.

FC Cincinnati, their final match of the year, on October 14, currently sit in sixth.

Scoring Summary

TFC II – Shaan Hundal 14’

HAR – Ropapa Mensah (Pedro Ribeiro) 45’ + 2’

HAR – Ropapa Mensah (Cardel Benbow) 50’

Misconduct Summary

HAR – Tiago Calvano 35’ (Caution)

HAR – Frederick Opoku 39’ (Caution)

HAR – Jake Bond 42’ (Caution)

TFC II – Rocco Romeo 91’ (Caution)

HAR – Aaron Wheeler 90’ + 4’ (Caution)

Team Stats

Toronto FC II Harrisburg City Islanders
Toronto FC II Harrisburg City Islanders
Shots – 9 Shots – 20
Shots on Target – 3 Shots on Target – 7
Blocked Shots – 3 Blocked Shots – 6
Possession – 44.7% Possession – 55.3%
September 16th USL/TFC PR

Lineups

Toronto FC II – Angelo Cavalluzzo; Julian Dunn, Lars Eckenrode (Brandon Onkony 59’), Rocco Romeo; Jordan McCrary, Sergio Camargo (Luca Uccello 59’), Brian James© (Liam Fraser 79’), Ryan Telfer; Malik Johnson, Aidan Daniels, Shaan Hundal

Substitutes Not Used: Mark Pais, Anthony Osorio, Dante Campbell, Ricardo John

Harrisburg City Islanders – Brandon Miller; Lee Nishanian, Tiago Calvano©, Travis Bent; Jake Bond, Mouhamed Dabo, Pedro Ribeiro (Danny DiPrima 88’), Frederick Opoku; Cardel Benbow (Jonathan Mendoza 73’), Ropapa Mensah (Aaron Wheeler 85’), Paul Wilson

Substitutes Not Used: Sean Lewis, Shawn McLaws, Rasheed Olabiyi, Manolo Sanchez

Attendance: 2,775

Records:

Toronto FC II (W-L-D): 5-17-7 22pts.

Harrisburg City Islanders (W-L-D): 8-14-7 31pts.