So far so good for Toronto FC II.
Jason Bent’s squad beat the University of South Florida 2-0 at the IMG Academy on Thursday. A beautiful first half goal by Manny Aparicio was bookended by Sal Bernal’s volley late in the second frame.
The wind played a major factor throughout the exhibition.
“It was very tough to be honest with you,” said Wes Charpie.
“When the wind is pounding in your face especially like it was in the second half there’s really not much you can do except getting the ball out.”
It was a special day for Charpie, who went to school at USF and had his family in attendance for the game.
“Playing against my college today was fun, all my friends were over there,” he said. “I never thought I’d go up against my [school] but it was a good experience today.”
Charpie, Skylar Thomas and Clement Simonin played the full 90 minutes at the back for TFC II. For their first game together, their use of communication was impressive.
“In practice we’ve being do a lot of tactical stuff,” Charpie continued. “Coach Bent wanted to make a point and said no goals today.”
Aparicio was stellar in the No. 10 role and his goal was of the highlight reel variety.
“It was a throw in, and our plays usually plays go through Jordan [Hamilton] because he’s a good hold up player,” said the 19-year-old.
The ball ricocheted off Hamilton, leaving Aparicio in a 1-v-1 situation with the USF defender. The Academy product flipped the ball over his opponent's head and deposited the ball into the top right corner of the net with authority.
Though the result was nice, this game was all about getting his side minutes for Bent.
“It’s the first 45, and 90 minutes for some of the boys,” said the head coach. “I thought their mentality and their work rate was fantastic. The conditions today were very difficult with the wind and the pitch was quite hard and bobbily.”
“For the first game through the first two weeks of preseason, it’s not a bad start.”
The play of the team’s spine impressed. Thomas, Simonin, Chris Mannella and Hamilton played strong soccer. When Hamilton was replaced by trialist Kenny Doublette for the second half the team didn’t miss a beat.
“It’s important for any football team, and the first team has a really strong spine. We want to have the same thing with Toronto FC II,” said Bent.
TFC II’s full schedule in Bradenton isn’t yet known, but we will keep you posted when the dates for future fixtures are made available.
Starting XI: Bono, Charpie, Thomas, Simonin, Edwards, Mannella, Uccello, Rivas, Aparicio, Hamilton, Ramos
Second half substitutes In: Lo Presti, Bernal, Doublette, Babouli, Roberts, Kaye Out: Bono, Edwards, Uccello, Ramos, Hamilton, Rivas