CHARLESTON, SC - Toronto FC II kicks off its inaugural game with a tough 3-2 defeat against the Charleston Battery, two first half goals from Jordan Hamilton and Molham Babouli getting canceled out by goals from Dane Kelly, Shaun Ferguson and a injury time winner from Taylor Mueller.
Started off in positive fashion, the Reds, showed themselves as the aggressors early on and it ultimately paid off in the 8th minute. Hamilton latching onto a long ball from defender Clement Simonin, running onto the ball and firing a shot off the crossbar and past Odisnel Cooper. TFC II added to their lead eight minutes later, Babouli beating a sprinting Cooper to the ball for an easy tap in.
Charleston pulled on back before halftime, Jamaican forward Dane Kelly getting on the end of a Quentin Griffith cross in the 38th minute, putting the ball past a diving Alex Bono. The Battery built onto its success late in the first half from set plays, a corner in the 56th minute seeing defender Shaun Ferguson end up with a goal in a scramble. The same scenario popping up in injury time, a corner from midfielder Jarad van Schaik finding Muller.
It was evident early that TFC II looked to set the tone as the visitors, putting some high pressure onto the Battery backline and forcing the hosts into long balls to Dane Kelly. Hamilton, Babouli and Mark Anthony Kaye were particularly active with their movement and taking advantage in gaps, a near connection between Ashtone Morgan and Hamilton hooking up to nearly give the Reds a 3-0 lead.
The Battery really applied its pressure towards the end of the first half onward, looking to get Kelly more touches and playing through balls into space as a main threat going forward. The TFC II defence has some spells of good play, Simonin standing out as a leader at the back dealing with the rapid pace of the game and showing willingness to build up play.
The play of Babouli and Kaye in the wide positions was a real positive to build off of, both testing the Battery with strong runs and being influential in tracking the play on both ends. Charleston used its fullbacks in Griffith and O’Brien Woodbine to be the main providers of service, this lead to miscommunications at the back for TFC II to sort out.
An individual battle between Morgan and Griffith very influential, both willing to attack the other and get dangerous crosses into the area.
The main area of concern for the Reds coming out of this game was set piece defending, Bono and the defence suffered a few nervous moments throughout the second half, dealing with long throws, corners and the hosts crashing the box on the game-tying and game-winning goals. This will be an area will need to be addressed as the road trip continues, developing communication under pressure and late in games.
TFC II’s next match will be against a familiar Canadian foe, the “401 Derby opening up a new chapter with the Reds traveling to Olympic Stadium to face-off with FC Montreal. You can catch it Saturday, March 28th (KO time TBA) via live stream on torontofc.ca.
TFC II - 8’ Jordan Hamilton, 16’ Molham Babouli
CHS - 38’ Dane Kelly, 56’ Shaun Ferguson, ’90 Mueller
TFC II - 20' Clement Simonin (caution)
CHS - 77' Zach Prince (caution)
TFC II - 79’ Ashtone Morgan (caution)
CHS - 89’ Maikel Chang (caution)
TFC II: 0-1-0 0pts
Charleston Battery: 1-0-0 3pts
Toronto FC II – Alex Bono; Wesley Charpie, Clement Simonin, Daniel Fabrizi, Ashtone Morgan; Manuel Aparicio (Massimo Mirabelli 62’), Chris Mannella © (Adam Bouchard 87’), Jay Chapman, Mark Anthony Kaye (Luca Uccello 76’); Mo Babouli, Jordan Hamilton
Substitutes Not Used: Quillan Roberts, Nikola Stakic, Marcus Godinho, Mark Serjeant
Charleston Battery – Odisnel Cooper; O’Brian Woodbine, Shawn Ferguson, Taylor Mueller, Quinton Griffith; Jarad van Schaik (Sebastian Thuriere 90’+3’), Justin Portillo, Zach Prince (Memo Rodriguez 79’), Maikel Chang; Ricky Garbanzo (Austin Savage 83’), Dane Kelly (Heviel Cordoves 55’)
Substitutes Not Used: Corby, Lasso, Ballo