Who: Toronto FC II (3-11-4, 13pts) vs. Bethlehem Steel (4-5-6, 18 pts)
When: Wednesday July 6th, 7:30pm
Where: Ontario Soccer Centre, Vaughan, ON
Toronto FC II host Bethlehem Steel FC at the Ontario Soccer Centre on Wednesday evening as they look to turn around their recent run of form and kick-start a solid end to the season.
The result in the most recent game against Wilmington didn't go the way of the Young Reds, but there were more than a few promising performances during the match. Liam Fraser and Mitchell Taintor did a good job cutting out several crosses before they could get into the danger area, and Aidan Daniels had two excellent shots clawed out by an inspired Eric Ati in the Hammerheads goal.
The roster will likely be bouyed by the return of some players after a stint with the parent club. Raheem Edwards' short-term contract comes to an end after his appearance in the Amway Canadian Championship final and an MLS debut against Seattle Sounders on Saturday night.
Alex Bono and Quillan Roberts remain with Toronto FC following Clint Irwin's injury, so Phil Di Bennardo and Gianluca Catalano remain the options in net. Malik Johnson and Bubacarr Jobe could also see returns to the starting XI as head coach Jason Bent looks to shuffle his line-up following a quick turnaround.
Philadelphia Union affiliate Bethlehem Steel are in their first season of play and currently stand only two places up on TFC II. Their last game was a 1-0 loss to FC Cincinnati and the fourth of a five game road trip. Goalkeeper Samir Badi had a busy night, but was alive to anything coming into his box in the air.
Their roster will be tired, but could be bolstered with the return of Auston Trusty from a United States U-20 tournament, but it remains to be seen if the youngster will make the trip north of the border.
Players to watch
Ryan Richter: The Pennsylvania native will be a familiar name for Toronto FC fans, having turned out for the MLS club 13 times in the 2013 season. Since then he's spent time with Ottawa Fury in NASL before signing with Bethlehem Steel this off-season. He's the captain of the team, and brings a wealth of solidity and experience to a backline that has only conceded 13 goals this season. He's also contributed in the offensive end, scoring twice so far.
Derrick Jones: Jones was the first signing for Bethlehem Steel FC, and the Philadelphia Union Academy graduate has shown why this year. The midfielder missed the FC Cincinnati game through suspension so will be raring to go in the middle of the park on Wednesday night. He's scored two goals and contributed one further assist so far, but his importance to the Steel goes beyond the stats sheet.
Join us at the Ontario Soccer Centre on Wednesday night by purchasing your tickets here!