On Friday night, TFC II will be in Michigan for their third game of the season.
Kicking off at 7 pm at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing, the Young Reds will be playing against Lansing Ignite FC, one of the expansion teams introduced this season into USL League One. Toronto Blue Jays fans might have recognized that Cooley Law School Stadium is also home to the Lansing Lugnuts, who are a minor league affiliate of the Jays.
This will be the Ignite’s third match of their inaugural season. After losing 2-1 to the Greenville Triumph in their season opener, Lansing beat the Richmond Kickers on 3-1 on April 13th to move to 1-1 on the year. They also played Michigan State University in the Capital Cup on April 16th, winning 4-0.
They have seven players tied atop their scoring list, as all seven have scored a single goal.
Still early in the season, scouting off a small sample size remains tricky. More so in the case of Lansing, who have seen plenty of red cards go each way in two of their three matches.
“Three matches so far, two against the same opponent,” said TFC II Coach Michael Rabasca. “Unfortunately, they’ve played two men down for a large period of time, played a man up.”
There will be an added element of difficulty with Lansing having been able to scout Toronto more thoroughly.
“Of all the teams we’ve played they’ll be the most physically prepared, the most physically challenging. They present different challenges in their style, the way they set up,” said Rabasca. “The biggest challenge is they will have been able to scout us. It’ll be a good test for our guys to see how they react to being scouting. That will be really important.”
As for TFC II, they remain unbeaten after two matches following a 1-1 draw away to FC Tucson on Saturday, April 13.
TFC II also have a group of players atop their scoring list, as Luca Petrasso, Jordan Perruzza and Jordan Hamilton have all found the back of the net once. Hamilton was with the Young Reds in order to get some extra playing time, and is expected to compete for starting minutes with the Toronto FC first team following Jozy Altidore’s injury, so he won’t be around with TFC II in the near future, leaving Perruzza and the others in charge of scoring the goals.
On loan from the first team, Griffin Dorsey was named to the USL League One team of the week on April 16th for his strong performance against FC Tucson last time out.
Having faced FC Tucson short-handed, the side will be reinforced with the conclusion of the Dallas Cup. All TFC II players, Perruzza, Petrasso, Terique Mohammed, Jordan Faria, and the rest, as well as first teamers Noble Okello and Julian Dunn should be available for Friday night.
In addition Gideon Waja is back from injury, though he may not have a full 90 minutes in him at the moment.
As usual, the match will be streamed on YouTube:
Elsewhere in the USL
The Ottawa Fury host Atlanta United 2 at TD Place on Sunday, April 28th. On loan from Toronto FC, Aidan Daniels came off the bench in their 1-0 loss in Louisville on April 20th. Both Robert Boskovic and Shaan Hundal have made a single appearance for the Fury on loan from TFC, playing one minute and five minutes, respectively. Daniels has made three appearances, playing a total of 31 minutes. Kickoff on Sunday is at 2 pm.
Another player loaned out by Toronto FC is Jon Bakero, currently plying his trade with Phoenix Rising FC. After a 4-0 win over Tacoma Defiance FC (aka Seattle Sounders II), Phoenix are in Sacramento on Saturday, April 27th to play Sacramento Republic FC. Bakero has started twice, but is yet to find the back of the net, unlike former Toronto FC striker Ben Spencer who has one goal in three matches. Kickoff for Phoenix vs Sacramento is at 10:30 pm.
Both Luca Uccello’s Memphis 901 FC and Malik Johnson’s Tampa Bay Rowdies are playing on the 27th, as they take on the Charleston Battery and Charlotte Independence, respectively.
All USL matches are streamed on the USL Championship YouTube channel.