It seems to be a re occurring theme for TFC II to win a game, and follow it up with a loss. However, this is a whole different scene for these young players to be facing clubs with veterans and top youth talent. The young team has been able to win five games so far and has been playing some strong defence for the past few games.
In a matter of fact, since their 4-0 thrashing to the hands of Louisville City on May 16th, TFC II has only lost two games where they gave up more than two goals. A 3-2 loss to Louisville recently and a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on August 8th. That is 12 games only allowing a maximum of two goals.
Wednesday versus Harrisburg was the same result, losing 2-0. The game may have ended in a loss, but many agree that it may have been TFC II's best performance. The team was able to create 17 chances on goal, and were unable to find that last touch and beat Nick Noble.
A different scene for TFC II occurred that game. First team players Chris Konopka and Nick Hagglund made an appearance against the Islanders. Konopka started the match in goal, and gave up one goal and made two saves in his 45 minutes of duty. The last time Konopka started a match for Toronto FC was on July 12th against New York City FC, a game in which he gave up four goals.
Hagglund on the other hand played the last 45 minuets, playing solid defence, but still allowing a second half cracker from Islander midfielder Brett Jankouskas. He hasn't started since that same game against NYCFC, but was a substitute for the recent match against the New York Red Bulls. Hagglund has been going through some injury problems and the move to TFC II was just to get some match fitness for the first team.
Facing NYRB II Again
Let's get back to the task at hand for the young Reds. A second match against a very talented Red Bulls II squad that has had players called up to the first squad and have been impressing many. One is the talented full back Anthony Wallace who scored against Toronto FC on the weekend.
The club features talents like Leo Stoltz, Chris Tsonis, Marius Obekop and Dan Bedoya. Tsonis being the leading scorer with five. The Red Bulls are sixth in goals in the league, with an average of 1.61 goals per game. They have at least six players with three or more goals so far.
The Red Bulls II sit in fifth place in the East with a 9-8-6 record, however the team does sit 18th in the USL in goals against, giving up 37 goals this season. Which is one more than TFC II have conceded, so we'll take that.
Consistency is Key
As mentioned before, TFC II played a very good match against Harrisburg, considering they lost 2-0. They created the most chances they have had all season. It was just the decisions made when playing in the final third and approaching the net. Many times, players can have goes on net, but choose to make one to many passes and leads to a counter.
If the team wants to see more chances in the future, they can really build off Wednesday's performance and use the opportunities in the box as chances.
Consistency is a problem however, and head coach Jason Bent and the rest of the staff have been telling the players what to work on each week. Bent mentions finding that consistency, and he is right. However, in a young team, that just comes with more match experience. Not everyone have the confidence to have a try on net from outside the box.
If the team can limit the mistakes when attacking, then they actually might be able to down a Red Bulls II team coming off two draws and loss in three games.
TFC II may have lost on Wednesday, but still played solid defence. A few mistakes and an absolute stunning goal in the second half that went top right and over keeper Alex Bono were all that went wrong for TFC II.
I predict TFC II draw this game with New York, and use the chances they took against Harrisburg as motivation to defeat a club that scored four goals in the last meeting. (It should be noted that the Red Bulls II had a couple first team players sent down that match due to the clubs bye week early in the season)
You can catch the game live at 8 ET at torontofc.ca/live.