TORONTO, CANADA- For those who watched the first TV season of “Ted Lasso,” it’s been a long waiting game in anticipation of the second season. For Toronto FC II, their upcoming rest will be as sweet as a TV fan flipping on the TV set to watch the second season of “Ted Lasso.”
After 35 days of playing twice a week, Wednesday’s match against South Georgia Tormenta is the end of the long and busy journey for Toronto FC II, who will have nine days in between matches for the first time in 2021.
The season began at ‘home’ in Tucson, Arizona, before the Young Reds relocated their ‘home’ field to Kissimmee, Florida. Playing twice a week and living hundreds of kilometres away from Toronto, the start of the year has not been easy for TFC II.
Once the final whistle goes on Wednesday, it will be time for a bit of a break. However, there is still 90 minutes of soccer before the Young Reds can watch their breath. Not only is the game the last of a busy run, but it is also critical to Toronto’s post-season aspirations.
Heading into Wednesday’s matchup in South Georiga, TFC II sit level on points with the final playoff spot. However, they find themselves below the cutoff line, having played two more games than Forward Madison. On Wednesday, they have a chance to push themselves above the playoff boundary heading into the season’s second half.
Toronto’s past matches
TFC II saw their two-game win streak come to a close in their last match with a 2-1 loss in the dying minutes at the feet of Fort Lauderdale, CF. Although the Young Reds came out on the losing end of their third match with the Inter Miami affiliate, there were several positives, and most stats suggest that TFC II deserved to win the game.
However, that loss is in the rearview mirror, and TFC II will re-acquaint themselves with another southeast American foe in South Georgia. The two sides have already met three times in 2021, with Tormenta coming away with a pair of wins and the Young Reds just one.
Tormenta defeated Toronto 1-0 at Erik Russell Park, the home of Wednesday’s affair, and picked up a similar result as the visiting team in Florida. However, in the last match between the two, TFC II put on a clinic, showcasing their offensive talents in a 3-1 victory.
While the two teams would not usually play each other as often as they have been, the constant competition has sparked a rivalry amidst an already exciting contest. With the fourth and final match of the season on Wednesday, there is no reason to expect anything different.
With the 3-1 win and other positive performances, Jayden Nelson and Luke Singh earned spots on the USL League 1 Team of the Week.
TFC II’s lineup
With Toronto FC sputtering in MLS, Head Coach Chris Armas recalled a pair of TFC II’s recent offensive drivers in Jayden Nelson and Ralph Priso, leaving TFC II to quickly adjust without two of their recent key players.
Despite not having those MLS loanees, Toronto still has the quality to string together wins in USL League 1 and will be able to put out a strong lineup for Tormenta. With nine days until the next match, any players ready to go will play for Head Coach Mike Munoz’s side on Wednesday.
Three points are a must, and every effort should be taken to get them.
Andreas Vaikla has played the last two matches in net, and Munoz tends to stick with a goalie for a pair of games before rotating, signalling a likely change for Wednesday. With Kevin Silva recalled to MLS, expect either 34-year-old Caleb Patterson-Sewell to get the nod or newly-signed Brogan Engbers to make his season debut.
At the back, Kevin Politz and Nyal Higgins will likely continue their stingy tandem at centreback, while Kobe Franklin will slide back in on the right, returning from suspension. On the left side, Luca Petrasso has created the most scoring chances for Toronto and is critical to their offensive transition. If all those players are fit, they will find their names on the team sheet.
Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, who is on loan with TFC II, will likely start in the middle of the park, with Themi Antonoglou, Mehdi Essoussi and potentially Antonio Carlini. Antonoglou links up well with Petrasso on the left side, while Carlini has shown he can link play between the midfield and the forward pair.
Coming off a stellar seven-shot performance against Fort Lauderdale, Garett McLaughlin will likely start up top for Toronto, either alongside early-season strike partner Steffen Yeates or Julian Altobelli. While the former proved to be a solid second striker, the latter combination has worked splendidly in recent matches.
A familiar spot for Garrett ..— Toronto FC II (@TorontoFCII) June 27, 2021
….with a usual result.
Munoz is in a fortunate situation at the moment, with a group of MLS players on loan in the USL and a League 1 group performing to the best of their abilities. Coming up against a familiar Tormenta side, the young manager will be prepared for the tactics in play.
It has been a very long time since TFC II has had time to breathe, but once the final whistle foes on Wednesday, they can afford to take their foot off the gas for a few days. Although soccer TV fans will have to wait patiently for a few more weeks until “Ted Lasso’s” second season, the long agonizing anticipation of a break is over for Toronto FC II.
Fans can tune into the match on the USL League 1 YouTube channel at 8:00 pm ET.