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Toronto FC II: Seven-goal thriller at Lamport ends with Ottawa taking the Ontario derby

TFC II lose 4-3 to the Fury on Thursday night in Toronto

Robin Glover photo - Ottawa Fury FC’s Cristian Portilla whips in an Olympico against Toronto FC II at Lamport Stadium
Fury Cristian Portilla scores directly from this cornerkick.
Robin Glover

Results and details of the September 6, 2018 USL game between Toronto FC II and Ottawa Fury at Lamport Stadium in Toronto

4’ Toronto FC II 0-1 Ottawa Fury [Tony Taylor] — Azake Luboyere checks TFC Matthew Srbely off ball at TFC 45 yard line on left and runs to 25 yard line and sends low pass over to OF Steevan Dos Santos who runs across box to collect it on right edge of box. He turns and taps pass to Taylor at 20 yards who takes a few steps to middle and fires low bending shot around TFC Noble Okello Ayo on edge of box and ball finds left side of net just inside post beyond diving goalie Borja Angoitia.

37’ Toronto FC II 0-2 Ottawa Fury [Cristian Portilla] — Portilla takes corner kick from right and ball is over leaping goalie on goal line in center of net and jumps TFC’s Dante Campbell on left side and drops into left corner of net.

47’ Toronto FC II 1-2 Ottawa Fury [Jon Bakero] — Ryan Telfer receives long cross on left sideline. He steps toward edge of box and has low 20 yard shot/cross stopped by OF Cristian Portilla at 12 yards. Bakero gets to rebound and he chips 18 yarder over goalie David Monsalve and into right corner of net.

47’ Toronto FC II 2-2 Ottawa Fury [Tsubasa Endoh] — Jon Bakero rolls through ball from 28 yards up middle. Endoh charges forward and slides to chip 12 yarder over sliding goalie at 8 yards and ball bounces into left corner of net.

69’ Toronto FC II 2-3 Ottawa Fury [Thomas Meilleur-Giguere] — Kevin Oliveira takes 28 yard free kick from left and charging Meilleur-Giguere heads ball in from 5 yards on right post into center of net (or ball may have hit the chest of TFC Kyle Bjornethun standing behind him).

73’ — Matthew Srbely at end of run up right rolls centering pass to Ryan Telfer who shoots low 15 yarder up middle that diving goalie saves on left post. The ball rolls along end line and goalie gets up and slides to clear tripping up TFC Jordan Hamilton from behind at 5 yards along end line. Referee David Barrie awards a penalty kick.

74’ Toronto FC II 3-3 Ottawa Fury [Jordan Hamilton] — Hamilton blasts penalty kick into middle of goal just under bar as goalie dives to left side of net.

78’ Toronto FC II 3-4 Ottawa Fury [Adonijah Reid] — Carl Haworth charges down right sideline to receive short quickly taken throw-in from 40 yards at 35 yard line. He dribbles forward and crosses from 12 yard line that’s over leaping Dante Campbell heading attempt in middle of box and Reid who was behind him at 8 yards even with left post heads ball into top left corner of net with goalie marooned in center of net.

Final Score: Toronto FC II 3-4 Ottawa Fury

Attendance was listed on the USL site as 207. That was slightly better than last week’s game. School is back so there were no children here tonight. Their presence was replaced by a group of TFC supporters who arrived after the first goal and left at 65 minutes (by their own choice, the chief security guard said) to reconvene outside the grounds at the parking lot in the south end so they could continue their chants behind the iron gates behind the Ottawa goal. That left the most vocal supporters as relatives and friends of local Fury players like David Monsalve and Adonijah Reid (and I’d expect Nana Attakora and Chris Mannella), who all grew up in the GTA area.

While I wasn’t expecting a winning performance by TFC II because of last week’s loss to also-rans Atlanta United 2 when they couldn’t score a man up for the entire second half, my thinking did a 180 when I saw the starting line up that dropped six players from their MLS team. Starting defenders were Ashtone Morgan, Nick Hagglund, and tonight’s captain Jason Hernandez. Midfielders were Ryan Telfer and Jon Bakero, and Jordan Hamilton was at forward. The MLS team has a week off because of the international break so it’s a good chance to give these players a run out.

Ottawa started six Canadians of their (low for tonight) 16-man roster — 10 Canadians as a whole. TFC II also started six Canadians, with eleven in total on their 18-man roster. Those numbers could be like next year’s Voyageurs Cup games without the designated players.

TFC dominated the first half with 76% possession and almost all the scoring opportunities but they were the team that trailed at the half. TFC scoring twice in the first two minutes of the second half was like pushing a reset button but after TFC sustaining the pressure until 57 minutes, the Fury gave as good as they got until the end of the game.

“The way we came out in the second half is how it should be all the time,” said Jon Bakero postgame. “We made a statement.”

“The guys showed some good determination,” added TFC II coach Michael Rabasca. “Followed through on things we spoke of at halftime”.

Is Bakero the new Ben Spencer of TFC? Well he’s already better because of his play tonight. He was named TFC II’s Man of the Match for his great curling shot goal. I was wondering if he gave the ball to Jordan Hamilton to take the penalty kick after Hamilton was tripped up or if Hamilton yanked the ball out of his hands. They got along better at 52 minutes when Bakero sent in a 22 yard cross from the left and Hamilton on the right side of the 6 yard box headed it off the left post.

The MLS defence of Morgan, Hernandez, and Hagglund was joined by 18 year old Dante Campbell for the second straight week in the right back position. He played well, overlapping with Tsubasa Endoh on runs and passing plays down the right side the whole game. Once again tonight Endoh took the majority of the free kicks and corners. He was coming off being named to the USL Team of the Week and finishing second for Player of the Week.

Rabasca said after the game it was “A good bounce-back game for Noble [Okello].”

“Defensively, it helps to have Jason Hernandez behind you helping to organize you,” he said. “I think it helped several of our players to have the voice like Jason and Nick (Hagglund). It was a good night for their growth as professionals.”

Ottawa’s number one goalie Maxim Crepeau is away with the Canadian national team this weekend so the duty for this game moved to David Monsalve.

Fury youngster Adonijah Reid is on loan from FC Dallas, who don’t have a USL team at the moment. Reid is now 19 and until last month he was League1 Ontario’s youngest ever goalscorer. He scored in his debut on May 2, 2015 for ANB Futbol against Kingston when he was only 15 years, 9 months while last month Kobe Franklin scored for TFC III against OSUF (Ottawa) when he was 15 years, 3 months. I looked back in my archives and found I attended both games!

TFC II’s record falls to 3-20-3 for 12 points. They are in 16th (last place) in the Eastern Conference.

The win improves the Fury’s record to 11-13-5 for 38 points, which raises them to a tie for eighth place in the East. While they have one more win than Nashville SC they have played three more games. The top eight teams in each conference make the playoffs but the way the USL system works each round is a one-game knockout against the higher seeded team so finishing eighth means there are no home games. First round opponent for the eighth place team is MLS bound FC Cincinnati who are on a 16-game unbeaten streak while stocking up on players like Fanendo Adi by spending MLS allocation money. From all the back and forth on message boards and Twitter about whether the Ottawa ownership is frugal or extravagant in regards to their decision to not join the Canadian Premier League in its first year, do they really want to go on a long USL playoff run with minimal revenue coming in because of no home dates?

A Fury official answered me after the game that they took five hours to get here by bus. They have to return overnight and will play a special exhibition game against Montreal Impact for the CapCity Cup within 24 hours in Ottawa. Who made that kind of schedule? The stadium is only five minutes away from the regional airport which could have saved many hours of travel time in each direction. The Fury want to put on a good showing and I don’t know if a flight is against USL rules.

TFC II meanwhile received news pregame that Orlando City B is returning to the USL league (they were on hiatus this season) as a Division 3 team. They are only the seventh team to join that tier. One of the reasons for the split is to lessen travel expenses so that means TFC II can now look at not having to travel to Tampa Bay, Florida, and instead travel to Orlando... Florida. Looks like they will have to travel a few times a year to Arizona to get in enough games. While Orlando City is the second MLS team to join, all the MLS ‘II’, ‘2’ and ‘B’ teams are supposed to join but USL allowed D.C. United to form a new farm team Loudoun United in Virginia for 2019 as a Division 2 team.