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TFC II lose Rochester finale to Bethlehem Steel

The Young Reds fall 2-0 to Steel FC in Rochester on Thursday

USL Photo - Toronto FC II’s defender Tim Kubel, holds off the pressure from an opponent against Bethlehem Steel FC at Rochester’s Marina Auto Stadium on Thursday
Tim Kubel holds off Bethlehem pressure on Thursday in Rochester
Matt Wittmeyer/Rochester Rhinos

Toronto FC II were unable to build on their weekend win over the Richmond Kickers at BMO Field, falling 2-0 against Bethlehem Steel FC at Rochester’s Marina Auto Stadium on Thursday, concluding their home-away-from-home series in Upstate New York.

Michee Ngalina and Aidan Apodaca scored the goals in the second half to give the visitors the three points.

Unfortunately, the match was not streamed and highlights have yet to emerge, so details of the action are sparse. But, there was an inflatable pub on site, so that’s something.

USL Photo - A portable pub at Rochester’s Marina Auto Stadium as Toronto FC II drop a match against Bethlehem Steel FC
Viewers may have been left wanting on Thursday night without a stream, but at least those thirsty and in attendance were satiated
Adam Krueger

Michael Rabasca went with a largely unchanged side yet again. The back five remained intact: Caleb Patterson-Sewell in goal and from right to left, Tim Kubel, Lars Eckenrode, Robert Boskovic, and Kyle Bjornethun across the back-line.

Gideon Waja stepped into deep midfield alongside Dante Campbell, in place of Liam Fraser, while Aidan Daniels moved into the advanced three with Tsubasa Endoh and Matt Srbely, replacing Luca Uccello.

Up top, Shaan Hundal returned to the XI in place of Jordan Hamilton.

Details on the match are hard to come by, but a very limited observation seems to show that Toronto were able to hold off a rather energetic Bethlehem side eager to make up for a home loss against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC as they battle for a playoff spot in a congested part of the Eastern Conference through the opening hour, only to succumb thereafter.

With the experienced and cohesive starting lineup, Rabasca’s side were able to fend off Steel FC’s advances, keeping them at bay, but as the match wore on and reinforcements were sought, that broke down.

Noble Okello and Malik Johnson replaced Campbell and Hundal in the 63rd minute, an injection of fresh legs, only for Ngalina to open the scoring come the 71st minute.

Terique Mohammed then came on for Bjornethun in the 78th minute and Apodaca added the second in the 83rd minute.

With the defeat, TFC II closes their Rochester exhibition run with a record of one win and three losses.

The side now faces a pair of tricky away matches – to Indy Eleven on Wednesday, August 22 and Louisville City FC on Tuesday, August 28 – before returning home for a pair of dates at Lamport Stadium – they host Atlanta United 2 on August 31 and Ottawa Fury FC on September 6.

With all but four of their remaining twelve matches away from home, each scheduled to be played at Lamport, it will be interesting to see if the process Rabasca and company have been instilling can lead to a strong close to the campaign.