Toronto FC II was able to climb back from a two-goal deficit on Saturday, playing to a 2-2 draw against former club affiliate Wilmington Hammerheads FC.
Sal Bernal had both goals on the night for TFC II, his first professional goal and first two-goal game for the club in the USL.
With the result TFC II’s record becomes 6-16-5 with one match remaining in the regular season.
The opposition opened up the scoring yet again on Saturday, a recurring theme in a tough season for the young Reds.
Hammerheads midfielder Corben Bone dribbled around two TFC II players before putting Aaron Wheeler through on goal.
Wheeler, with plenty of space in the box, curled a left-footed shot into the top right corner that beat goalkeeper Quillan Roberts in the 13th minute.
Wheeler added his second of the match in the 36th minute off a Wilmington corner kick.
The 6’4” forward was left unmarked in the box and headered in the cross before Roberts could get a hand on the ball.
TFC II struggled to create chances in the final third in the first half but managed to cut Wilmington’s lead to one just before halftime.
Mo Babouli chipped a pass into the box that Sal Bernal was able to get to and tip over Hammerheads’ goalkeeper Andre Rawls for his first professional goal in a TFC II jersey.
Bernal got his second of the game in the early stages of the second half.
Jordan Hamilton laid the ball off into the path of Bernal who – on his first touch – blew past two Wilmington defenders and struck a left-footed shot past Rawls to pull the game level.
TFC II almost had the go-ahead goal in the 67th minute off the boot of Captain Chris Mannella.
Raheem Edwards began a counter-attack and eventually passed it off to Mannella who hammered a shot that Rawls was able to get a hand to and tip off the crossbar.
A few seconds later Jordan Hamilton found himself with a glorious opportunity but Rawls made a kick save from point blank range to keep the game tied.
Quillan Roberts had a game-saving stop of his own in second half stoppage time.
Wilmington substitute Qudus Lawal dribbled through a couple TFC II defenders and pulled the trigger from about 10 yards from goal but Roberts came up huge, diving to his left and knocking the ball out for a corner.
TFC II close out their inaugural USL season on September 24th against USL Regular Season Champions the Rochester Rhinos at Sahlen’s Stadium.
WHFC – Aaron Wheeler 13’ (Corben Bone)
WHFC – Aaron Wheeler 37’ (Tom Parratt)
TFC II – Sal Bernal 45’
TFC II – Sal Bernal 55’
WIL – Corben Bone 73’ (caution)
WIL – Andrae Campbell 88’ (caution)
TFC II – Massimo Mirabelli 90’ (caution)
Toronto FC II: 6-16-5 23pts.
Wilmington Hammerheads FC: 3-15-10 19pts.
Toronto FC II – Quillan Roberts; Anthony Osorio, Emeka Ononye, Skylar Thomas, Wesley Charpie; Chris Mannella ©, Manuel Aparicio (Luca Uccello 75’), Sal Bernal, Raheem Edwards (Edwin Rivas 89’); Mo Babouli (Daniel Fabrizi 90’), Jordan Hamilton (Massimo Mirabelli 85’)
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Gabriel Boakye, Adam Bouchard
Wilmington Hammerheads FC – Andre Rawls; Andrae Campbell, Troy Cole, Paul Nicholson, Tom Parratt (Justin Moose 66’); Zev Taublieb, Corben Bone (Will Heaney 87’), Stefan Defregger, Ross Tomaselli; Aaron Wheeler (Marc Godelman 78’), Cody Arnoux (Qudus Lawal 52’)
Substitutes Not Used: Larry Jackson, Fran Martinez, Brian Anunga