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TFC II stun East leaders Louisville City FC

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Hundal strike upsets the conference leaders as TFC II win 1-0 over Louisville on Wednesday night

USL Photo - TFC II players (Hundal, McCrary, Srbely) celebrate the game-winner against Louisville City FC at the Ontario Soccer Centre
Shaan Hundal, Jordan McCrary, & Matt Srbely celebrate the game-winner on Wednesday night against Louisville
Martin Bazyl

Toronto FC II began the final three match stint of the season on a positive note, handing Eastern Conference leaders Louisville City FC their first loss since August 26, halting a five-match unbeaten run and denying them the chance to seal up first place heading into the playoffs.

Shaan Hundal scored the lone goal in the 1-0 victory, his fourth of the season and second in as many games, pouncing on a wonderful ball from Jordan McCrary in the 73rd minute to earn his side the three points.

Jason Bent once more shuffled his lineup. Captain Mitch Taintor was reinserted into the middle of the back-three, moving Lars Eckenrode to the left and displacing Rocco Romeo. Anthony Osorio replaced Ryan Telfer at left-back, finally fit after injuries have hampered his season, while Liam Fraser and Matt Srbely came into the midfield in place of Brian James and Sergio Camargo.

The strike partnership of Hundal and Malik Johnson remained in place for a second straight match, a rarity for TFC II.

USL Photo - TFC II pose for a team photo prior to their 1-0 win over Louisville City FC on Wednesday at the Ontario Soccer Centre
TFC II lineup for a team photo ahead of Wednesday’s win over Louisville City FC
Martin Bazyl

Without a time code on the broadcast for much of the first half, it was difficult to be certain exactly when events occurred.

Louisville began the brighter of the two sides, pressing Toronto through the early passages of play, but were unable to craft many clear cut chances. The two best looks of the opening ten minutes or so fell for Toronto when both Srbely and Hundal attempted to drive into the area, only for the Louisville keeper, Greg Ranjitsingh, a native of Pickering, Ontario, to rush off his line in the first instance and a timely tackle from Sean Reynolds that interrupted the other.

A few more half-chances came TFC II's way, including a neat bit of interplay between Hundal and Johnson that saw the latter send a right-footer from the top of the box sailing high and wide.

Around the half-hour mark, Eckenrode was called upon to put in a lovely tackle on Kyle Smith, lunging in with a perfect clearance as the wide midfielder cut in-field from the right to get on the end of a through-ball in a dangerous position. Given Eckenrode conceded two penalty kicks when he went to ground in the area against NYRB II recently, it was some strong, confident play from a young defender just getting back from injury.

Louisville gradually worked themselves back onto the front foot as the half wore on, requiring further solid defensive contributions, especially from Taintor, who was particularly energetic on the night, making his return to the side after a four-match absence – his last appearance came in Toronto's win over Charlotte back on August 26.

Taintor was at the centre of the action in the 34th minute (the broadcast switched to one with the clock by then), putting in a vital sliding block on Brian Ownby after he was played down the right-side of the area.

Toronto would have one last look before half-time when Johnson swooped onto a loose pass to get into good position on the left-side of the box, only to send his shot wide of the target.

Scoreless at half, as he did in the last meeting, Angelo Cavalluzzo was the star over the next 25 minutes.

Three minutes after the restart Ownby was brought down at the top of the box, setting up a dangerous free-kick for the visitors. Cameron Lancaster's right-footer cleared the wall and looked bound for the bottom right-corner of goal, but Cavalluzzo flew over, getting down well to get the needed touch.

Fraser saw yellow in the 52nd minute for a foul – he will not be available next match due to caution accumulation – and Lancaster's second attempt at beating Cavalluzzo from the ensuing dead-ball lacked the power to really trouble the keeper.

Srbely, who was lively on the night, saw two partial chances in the span of a minute, attempting to dribble through a crowd en route to goal in the 56th minute, winning a corner and then bringing down that corner on his chest and touching past a defender, only for a crowd to prevent him getting off a shot.

Louisville looked to have taken the lead in the 59th minute when Ownby got on the end of a right-sided cross from Smith, sneaking in behind Julian Dunn at the back-post, only for the offside flag to rob him of the opener.

Former Young Red Mark-Anthony Kaye came on in the 59th minute, while Bent went to his bench in the 61st replacing Osorio and Johnson with Ryan Telfer and Daniel Da Silva, a 19-year old forward who has excelled with TFC III this year, marking his USL debut this season.

Aidan Daniels stood over a free-kick in the 63rd minute after Hundal was brought down as he approached the right-side of the box. Daniels whipped a right-footer over the wall, but it was a little too high to bend into the top far-corner of goal.

Cavalluzzo stood on his head again in the 69th minute, leaping to get a hand on another Ownby effort, pushing away the dipping goal-bound attempt.

Taintor again showed his ability to read the mind of the opponent, stepping in neatly to intercept a ball that would have played Louisville substitute Luke Spencer in clear on goal.

Back at the other end, Da Silva nearly marked his debut with a goal, getting on the end of a Daniels free-kick to direct a header towards the bottom left-corner of goal. Unfortunately, Ranjitsingh was equal to the effort, scrambling across to push it wide in the 72nd minute.

A minute later, however, TFC II would find the breakthrough.

McCrary would get on the ball in transition, placing an inch-perfect ball down the right and into the path of Hundal streaking into the box. From a rapidly closing angle, Hundal stayed calm, sliding his right-footed finish under the keeper and into the back of the Louisville net.

Bent would make his third and final change in the 79th minute, replacing Eckenrode with Brandon Onkony. He was nearly made to pay for that a minute later when Paolo DelPiccolo slipped Kaye into the area, drawing Cavalluzzo off his line. Kaye's knee/shin caught Cavalluzzo, who was shaken up – a nervous moment with Toronto having used all three subs – but the keeper was able to continue after a brief pause in the action.

With the clock ticking down, the match got a touch fractious. Paco Craig saw yellow in the 86th minute for a meaty challenge that cleared the ball, but also caught a lot of Srbely. He was set to be suspended for the next match due to caution accumulation, but four minutes later a second booking, for a pick on Srbely as he tried to push by him, saw a second booking and red card.

Toronto could be a little disappointed as well, as the play had continued well for them, but advantage was not played.

Daniels was forced to play though some pain, picking up what appeared to be a series of cramps after stepping awkwardly. He was down for a bit in stoppage-time, but continued, collapsing in agony at the final whistle.

There was a bit of a funny moment when a second ball was on the pitch and Da Silva, who was bearing towards goal, played out the extra ball in between touches of the live one.

He then attempted an audacious attempt from distance on a quick break, showing no signs of passivity on the bigger stage; though had Louisville found an equalizer, his decision to not look for the corner flag would have been a talking point.

The six minutes of added time stretched to eight, but TFC II held out to earn a massive 1-0 win over Louisville City, snapping a losing streak at three matches, a winless one at four, and continuing their pattern of going toe-to-toe with the class of USL.

An archive of the match is available on YouTube.

TFC II will close out their season in the coming weeks with two final home matches, each a chance to continue their role as spoilers with both opponents battling for their playoff lives.

Their final match of the year is on Saturday, October 14 against FC Cincinnati; up next, on Friday, October 6 is a date with Bethlehem Steel FC.

USL Photo - TFC II lineup under the lights as the anthems play ahead of their clash with Louisville City FC on Wednesday at the OSC
The calm before the storm, TFC II brace for a clash with Louisville under the lights at the Ontario Soccer Centre
Martin Bazyl

Scoring Summary

TFC II – Shaan Hundal 73’ (Jordan McCrary)

Misconduct Summary

TFC II – Liam Fraser 52’ (Caution)

LOU – Paco Craig 86’ (Caution)

LOU – Paco Craig 90’ (Caution) (Ejection)

Team Stats

Toronto FC II Louisville City FC
Toronto FC II Louisville City FC
Shots – 9 Shots – 18
Shots on Target – 3 Shots on Target – 4
Blocked Shots – 0 Blocked Shots – 10
Possession – 43.5% Possession – 56.5%
September 26th USL/TFC PR

Lineups

Toronto FC II – Angelo Cavalluzzo; Julian Dunn, Mitchell Taintor©, Lars Eckenrode (Brandon Onkony 79’); Anthony Osorio (Ryan Telfer 62’), Liam Fraser, Matthew Srbely, Jordan McCrary; Malik Johnson (Daniel Da Silva 61’), Aidan Daniels, Shaan Hundal

Substitutes Not Used: Gianluca Catalano, Rocco Romeo, Luca Uccello

Louisville City FC – Gregory Ranjitsingh; Kyle Smith, Sean Totsch, Sean Reynolds, Paco Craig, Oscar Jimenez; Devon Williams, Paolo DelPiccolo, Cameron Lancaster (Luke Spencer 65’); Brian Ownby (Richard Ballard 74’), Niall McCabe (Mark-Anthony Kaye 59’)

Substitutes Not Used: Tim Dobrowolski, Tarek Morad, Guy Abend, George Davis IV

Attendance: 725

Records:

Toronto FC II (W-L-D): 6-17-7 25pts.

Louisville City FC (W-L-D): 16-6-7 55pts.