TORONTO, CANADA—In 2019, the last season of Toronto FC II soccer, the longest winless streak was six games. Right now, in 2021, TFC II stares down the same barrel, with five straight non-wins, looking to avoid the dreaded sixth points-dropped performance of the streak.
The Young Reds visit South Georgia Tormenta FC on Sunday, which they faced just four days ago at ‘home’ in Florida. While Wednesday’s game was lacklustre and ended in a disappointing 1-0 loss, there is optimism heading into Sunday’s affair.
TFC II got some quick roster additions in the first leg of the mini-series in first-team players Jayden Nelson, Ralph Priso and Kevin Silva. Although all are quality players with some MLS experience under their belt, their introduction to the USL side caused some disruption in the team’s cohesiveness. For Sunday, they will have been training with the team and have a game of experience under their belts. While it is not known if all three will start, they are bound to have more connectivity with their USL teammates.
Toronto supporters and other International viewers can watch the match on the USL League 1 YouTube channel, kicking off at 8:00 pm ET.
The Need for a Win
Led by Head Coach Mike Muñoz, TFC II will have to change something to get themselves back into the win column. Although the trio of MLS loanees likely has some sort of guaranteed playing time, there are still ways to field a winning lineup.
The start of the season has been undoubtedly tricky for TFC II, who play two games each week until the end of June; however, that does not mean that it is not critical to find a win on Sunday. Extended winless periods can seep into the mentality of a team, and coming off being shutout; there has not been a more important game than Sunday’s tilt.
Despite the side being fatigued amid a heavy schedule, the lack of success cannot be promising. That is why it is time for Muñoz to field a full-strength TFC II side, regardless of rest, just to give the group a jolt of energy and hope. Last time out, Themi Antonoglou, one of Toronto’s best players this season, began on the bench. Although his substitute performance did not warrant any headlines, he has created the second most chances on the team (6) and is second in goals (2).
If Anotnogou slips back into the starting lineup, the left side of the field becomes one of the league’s best. With Luca Petrasso likely at left-back, and Antongolou ahead of him, TFC II will have their two leading chance craters on one side. Link that up with forwards Garett McLaughlin and Steffen Yeates, and goals are more than likely.
Another potential adjustment could be reintroducing Dante Campbell to the starting lineup. The TFC Academy graduate spent 2020 on loan with the Canadian Premier League’s Valour FC and returned to TFC II for 2021. He has been training with the MLS side but made a brief appearance for the Young Reds on Wednesday. Although TFC II’s backline has been constantly strong, Campbell’s introduction could offer a breath of fresh air and quality.
With changes and lessons learned from the first leg’s defeat, the second match gives TFC II a prime opportunity for revenge.
Heading into the Sunday match, TFC II sit second-last in the 12 team USL League 1, only ahead of North Carolina FC, who have a dismal 1 point through five matches. The Young Reds are rapidly catching up in the schedule, but they are also sliding their way out of playoff contention before the season gets to its peak. So for morale, for post-season aspirations, and so much for, it is critical that TorontAcademyo pick up three points on Sunday.
South Georgia Tormenta
It did not take very much for Tormenta to get by Toronto in Wednesday’s tilt. Marco Miccaleto and Luca Mayr are the key players in the midfielder, yet Jorge Parra’s goalkeeping prowess cannot be underestimated. While Tormenta has not been stellar this season, they now ride a two-game win streak and will look to extend that against an already beaten opponent on
PREDICTION: I’ve gotten quite a few of this way off recently, but 2-1 Toronto looks pretty realistic.