TORONTO, CANADA - Toronto FC has already played at DRV PNK Stadium this season, and it did not go very well, as the Reds came away barring the ugly side of a 4-2 loss to CF Montreal. On Wednesday, TFC II gets their shot at the temporary stadium in Florida, facing Inter Miami’s second team, Fort Lauderdale CF.
Coming off of a second straight loss and riding a six-game winless streak, Toronto FC II is looking to turn their misfortunes on Wednesday night at one of the biggest stadiums in USL League 1.
Supporters can watch the match for free, live on the USL League 1 YouTube channel.
Since moving to Florida, the southern USA has not been too friendly to TFC II, with an opening loss to South Georgia, followed by an away loss to the same Tormenta team. Before those two games, Tormenta was also sputtering at the bottom of the standings, however, wins over Toronto vaulted them back into the playoff conversation.
Heading into the first meeting with Fort Lauderdale, the Young Reds face an immense challenge. If the second game against Tormenta was critical to post-season hopes, the games only grow from here. TFC II needs points against Fort Lauderdale in an ever-tight USL League 1 table.
“I think it’s going to be a good game,” said Fort Lauderdale Head Coach Darren Powell to Inter Miami’s website. “Toronto has some really good young players, and we’re looking forward to a hard-fought soccer match.”
Some of those highly-regarded young players that Powell praised are those loaned from the MLS club. Ralph Price, Jayden Nelson, Kevin Silva and Jahkelle Marshal-Rutty are still loaned to the USL club, but there is no word on whether they will feature on Wednesday.
While the MLS loaned players offer some notable names, they have not made an astounding difference to the Young Reds in their minutes. Kevin Silva has been solid in net, and although the others have offered some flashy moments, their impact has been minimal. PArt often can be attributed to their unfamiliarity with the group and the way TFC II played at the beginning of the season.
TFC II has looked like a different side through the last two games than they did in the early season in Arizona. The relocation to Florida has brought them closer to the first team and visibly broke up some cohesion that had been built in TFC II’s style.
However, the world must go on, and TFC II will have to figure out a way to pick up some points. Halfway through June, the club is nearing their first full week off at the end of the month but are still in the grind of things.
For Wednesday, Head Coach Mike Munoz is likely to rotate his side once again. While Steffen Yeates and Themi Atnonoglou began the last match on the bench, one can infer that they will draw back into the starting lineup. On the left side of midfield, the combination of Antonoglou and Luca Petrasso has looked promising so far this season and could be reunited on Wednesday. Rotation could also feature on the backline, with a cast of characters all taking their turns in the somewhat stingy defence.
Fort Lauderdale CF
With the odd schedule this season, it is not very often that Toronto sees a new opponent; however, that is precisely what will happen when they kick off against Fort Lauderdale.
The affiliate club of Inter Miami CF, Fort Lauderdale feature some familiar names to Toronto supporters. Shaan Hundal came through the TFC Academy and played for TFC II from 2016-2019 - he will face his former team on Wednesday. Hundal, who also had a stint with the Canadian Premier League’s Valour FC, leads FTLCF with 3 goals, the same tally as Toronto’s Garrett McLaughlin.
83' SHAAN HUNDAL ARE YOU KIDDING!!! ANOTHER GOAALL! pic.twitter.com/7cYlRjYFdz— Fort Lauderdale CF (@FTLauderdaleCF) May 3, 2021
Other than Hundal, a player that Toronto will have to figure out is goalkeeper Luis Zamudio. The main man between the sticks for Miami is third in the league in saves made (20), coming in behind Wallis Lapsley and Pablo Jarra, two netminders that TFC II had difficulties against.
PREDICTION: 2-2 Draw
TFC II has been searching for goals lately, with little success; however, I think they will find a couple on Wednesday. However, Fort Lauderdale has scored five goals in a match this season and has hit the two-goal mark five times. It won’t be easy for Toronto to come away with a win, but a point should be within reach.