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Former Red Justin Braun haunts TFC II in loss to Indy Eleven

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The Young Reds lose 3-1 to Indy Eleven on Saturday evening at Rochester’s Marina Auto Stadium

USL Photo - Toronto FC II’s Ayo Akinola gets on the ball against Penn FC at Monarch Park
Akinola scored TFC II’s lone goal against Indy Eleven on Saturday in Rochester
Martin Bazyl

Toronto FC II dropped an eighth-straight match on Saturday night, falling 3-1 to Indy Eleven in the second of four home matches to be played in Rochester.

Kevin Venegas opened the scoring in the 23rd minute for Indy, but Ayo Akinola, continuing his strong run of form of late, replied in the 28th minute with a shot from range that reportedly picked out the top corner.

But as is so often the case for the first team, a former Red, Justin Braun, did the damage in getting reacquainted with his old side.

Braun, who spent the 2013 season in Toronto, scoring two goals, put Indy ahead in first half stoppage-time, touching a ball from Venegas into the net from short range. He then completed his brace five minutes after the restart, this time with former Whitecap Matt Watson playing provider.

In his second match at the helm, Michael Rabasca was again able to call in support from the first team with MLS on a break for the World Cup: Liam Fraser was made available, as were Ayo Akinola and Mariano Mino.

In addition, Aidan Daniels, Julian Dunn, and Noble Okello were back in the 18 after their European adventure. Daniels and Dunn were inserted in the starting eleven, while Okello was on the bench.

With neither a stream, nor highlights, it is difficult to say just how the side lined up. Indications from the selection imply that Rabasca went with something more akin to the 3-5-2: Gianluca Catalano was in goal with Dunn, Robert Boskovic, and Rocco Romeo along the back-line.

Dante Campbell and Luca Petrasso, who were wing-backs in the last match against Penn FC, got starts as well with Fraser patrolling the middle of the park. With Mino, Daniels, and Luca Uccello all capable in the midfield, just how those three interacted with Akinola is uncertain.

With none of them a true striker, it is unclear whether Mino played in a secondary role off his should or if Daniels was thrust into a more out-and-out forwards’ position. Alternatively, TFC could have looked a little more like a 3-3-3-1. A peculiar formation, but one that would make sense with the bodies available: a band of three defenders, the wing-backs and defensive midfielder, a trio of more attack-minded midfielders and the striker at the top.

A point from the USL.com recap rings hauntingly familiar:

[O]nce again it felt as though the breaks the side needed just wouldn’t go TFC II’s way. A scrambled pair of clearances off the line on efforts by Akinola and Miño that denied the side the opening goal could have given Toronto a needed boost of confidence, but instead after those chances were denied Indy would soon take the lead.

Toronto would level, but goals either side of half-time, brutal moments to concede, proved decisive.

The side will nurse those wounds and look to the second half of the season as a chance to turn results around. Rabasca has a good ten-day period now to work his ideas and influence into the team before their next match on June 27 against FC Cincinnati, set to be played at BMO Field.