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Toronto FC II 0-1 Penn FC: Shorthanded TFC II fall to late winner

Tough break for the Young Reds at Monarch Park.

Toronto FC II took on Penn FC at Monarch Park in Toronto on Wednesday, losing 1-0. Here are the major details of the match:

42’ — TFC II red card: Shaan Hundal earns a direct ejection after Penn’s Haruna Shaibu leapt for a header at the centre line near the fourth official’s table and Hundal charged over to jump as well and caught Shaibu with an elbow to the head, flattening him. Shaibu is down for a few minutes and the stretcher is brought out as only his feet were moving. This is one reason why four minutes of stoppage time were added.

55’ — Penn FC’s Tommy Heinemann is upended just inside the box at 16 yards in a crowd of players after a corner kick was sent in from the left and he jumped to turn a header. He is awarded a penalty kick.

57’ — Heinemann stutter steps on his penalty approach and shoots low to the right. TFC II goalie Angelo Cavalluzzo dives to the right and pushes the ball wide of the post.

86’ — Penn FC GOAL: Miguel Jaime crosses from the 30 yard line on the far left and the ball soars over a crowd of players just outside the box. The back-pedaling Cavalluzzo gets an overhead arm to it but the ball deflects in off the inside of the right post. Cavalluzzo’s momentum carries him downward as he twists his left leg, badly. This was the main reason there were eight minutes of added time in the second half.

Final Score: Toronto FC II 0-1 Penn FC

Shaibu returned to the game after play resumed which was a surprise to me, as I thought the protocol with head injuries was that a more thorough investigation would be done and with the break coming he could return for the second half. A sub was waiting by the sideline to come in but he backed away.

On the Cavalluzzo injury I thought his momentum clanged his head off the post until I saw the highlights the next day. He was moving his head and arms but not his legs when he was down. He was still waiting to be taken by ambulance 35 minutes after the game as the crew was working with his left boot off and leg secured. Five and a half hours after the game he was named in a tweet as the man of the match.

As TFC II had made their three subs by the time of Cavalluzzo’s injury, defender Tim Kubel put on the goalie gloves and shirt and took up the position in net. He made a point blank stop on Heinemann’s 15 yarder. Penn kept the pressure on as they only had a one-goal lead and were now effectively playing against nine men. Kubel was playing his third game of the season (all starts). The German defender was drafted 28th in this year’s MLS SuperDraft from the University of Louisville. He was the only player to appear today and also in Saturday’s League 1 Ontario game in Toronto FC III’s 1-0 “away” win against Sanjaxx Lions that was played in this same stadium. The starting goalie in that game was Gianluca Catalano, who was today’s backup for TFC II.

Sean Lewis earned the shutout for Penn. He had an easy time as the stats show; TFC II had only two shots, and neither was on target.

Referee Carol Anne Chenard and assistant Chantal Boudreau have both just been appointed to officiate at the FIFA Women’s Under 20 World Cup in France this year. Chenard gave out five yellows (two to TFC).

The biggest story of the day was an unannounced attendance of 4100 for this school day game. That was later published as a new record for the team. All the seats in the concrete stands were filled including the end-zone by game time and students continued to arrive. They were then lined around against the back fence of the north sideline behind the players benches and track and after that more were allowed into the south sideline to sit on the track. This game was moved on short notice (three days?) from BMO Field. There was an MLS game that night and even if BMO was in good shape, I’ve never heard of a game where the first team has to play on a field the same day as one of their lower tiered teams running around and scuffing and spitting on the playing surface. Weather-wise this was only the second game I’ve attended in any league since February where it’s been warm and sunny.

The kids were given Thundersticks and an MC pepped up the crowd pregame and at halftime. There is no scoreboard at this stadium and it’s tough to unload multiple school buses on these narrow inner city streets. Hard to say if the DJ’s music was disturbing the Monarch Park Collegiate (who by a roll call appeared to not be in attendance), or the senior’s building across Coxwell Avenue.

TFC II head coach Laurent Guyot said the game was an amazing learning experience and it was too easy to use the excuse “bad luck.”

“At the beginning of the game we didn’t perform very well,” he said. “We have to keep the right mentality and be ready for the next game.”

Guyot also commented on the “amazing” atmosphere with all the young people in attendance. “We love to play at BMO Field but it’s not very loud with 100 (in the crowd), but we know that the first team takes preference.”

Midfielder Matthew Srbely commented on the fans when asked why the players were hanging around on the field to give autographs and pose for selfies. “We must show love to the fans to develop that relationship when they’re young,” he said.

TFC have only scored three goals this season after this, their eighth game. It was made more difficult with striker Hundal’s ejection in the first half. Hundal had scored in their 2-1 loss on Saturday. Hundal should be able to duck back into TFC III and play in League 1 Ontario — he had their goal in their season opener against FC London. Neither forward Ben Spencer nor Mariano Mino were in today’s lineup. Mino was moved up to the MLS game against Seattle tonight but stayed on the bench. Another teenager, Malik Johnson, played up with Hundal and was gifted a sitter by Hundal at the 1 minute mark but skied his five yarder well over the bar.

Penn FC improve their record to 2-3-4 and grab the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference for the moment. They padded their shots today with a 19-2 advantage and led 9-2 in corners but many were after they went up a man. Today’s was only their sixth goal scored this season. They have an advantage as scheduling has given them nine home games at the end of the season.

Until this year, they were known as the Harrisburg City Islanders. They are not an affiliate of any MLS team.

TFC II’s record falls to 0-6-2. They remain in 16th (last) place in the East. They were just jumped by Ottawa Fury on Monday night, who went down to Penn and won 1-0 with a controversial goal at exactly 87 minutes! Usually it’s TFC that softens up a travelling American team who then heads up to Ottawa.

TFC II’s next game is next Wednesday on the road against the new Atlanta United 2 team.