Toronto FC II are back on the road for another midweek match, set to face off against Louisville City FC at Louisville Slugger Field on Tuesday night – kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
On the heels of an entertaining 3-2 loss away to Indy Eleven last week, TFC II will be looking to right the ship and put another high-profile result in the cabinet against Louisville.
The defeat in Indianapolis was a second straight for Toronto after starting to put together a string of solid performances. A 2-0 win in Rochester against North Carolina FC at the end of July, their first of the season, was followed by a narrow 1-0 defeat on the road against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, a team that has tormented TFC II this season.
A week later, Toronto found a second win, defeating the Richmond Kickers 1-0, at BMO Field with Jordan Hamilton the goal-scorer. A 2-0 defeat at the hands of Bethlehem Steel FC in Rochester followed, but wonder-strikes from Tsubasa Endoh and Hamilton looked to claw Toronto back into the match against Indy after conceding twice early, only for a Dylan Mares effort from range in the second half to doom that initiative.
On Tuesday they will face another stiff challenge, as Louisville enters the match in second place in the Eastern Conference on 46 points from 24 matches: eleven points off the blistering pace of FC Cincinnati who top the league.
Louisville has won their last two matches, both on the road, by a combined score of 9-0, winning 3-0 at the Charlotte Independence before handing the Kickers a 6-0 smashing on Saturday.
Cameron Lancaster opened the scoring in the 33rd minute and George Davis IV added a second four minutes later. Jose Carranza added the third in the 58th minute, Niall McCabe made it four in the 61st minute, and Luke Spencer added a late brace, just four minutes apart, to round out the scoring.
Those two wins stretched their overall unbeaten run to seven matches, where the goals have been pouring in for Louisville, who also dropped six on New York Red Bulls II earlier this month.
Lancaster leads the side with sixteen goals in 21 matches, enough for a share of the USL Golden Boot lead with Thomas Enevoldsen of Orange County SC, but he is not the only threat. Ilija Ilic has nine goals in nineteen appearances, Davis IV has six in 21, Spencer four in eleven, and McCabe three in 19.
Toronto will have to be wary of each and every one of that fearsome attacking unit.
At home, Louisville is particularly dominant, having lost just once in eleven matches at Louisville Slugger Field. There, they are unbeaten in four – scoreless draw versus Nashville, 2-2 against Indy, a 4-1 win over Charlotte, and a 3-3 draw with NYRB II – since a 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh on June 27.
Curiously, however, they have won just of their last six matches at home. And, TFC II has a tendency to play up to the level of their competition when squaring off against the class of USL.
This is the first meeting between the sides in 2018 – they will meet once more on Friday, October 5 at Lamport Stadium – and though Louisville has bossed the all-time series with four wins to Toronto’s one with a draw, TFC II are unbeaten in two, having won the last meeting 1-0 at home in 2017, courtesy of a strike from Shaan Hundal, and earned a hard-fought 0-0 draw in Louisville last season, thanks to a heroic performance from Angelo Cavalluzzo.
And should Louisville have one eye on a massive clash with the Charleston Battery on Friday it is possible that Toronto could play spoilers once more.
Lou City, as it appears they are known colloquially, sit atop of handful of teams vying to be second to Cincinnati when the regular season comes to an end. With just a single point more than Pittsburgh and two more than Charleston, who have played more matches, every game will be important from here on in.
The match will be streamed on YouTube (below) and kickoff is set for 7 p.m.