Toronto FC II were unable to finish the season on a high note, losing to 2015 USL League Champions the Rochester Rhinos 2-0 on Thursday.
The match was an ideal opportunity for Head Coach Jason Bent to test some of the younger players considering it was the last match of the season and the team was already eliminated from the playoffs.
Four of TFC II’s Starting XI and eight of the 18 players selected for the match by Bent have spent time at some point this season playing for the Kia Toronto FC Academy.
Andrew Dias made his first professional start for the club following his call-up from the TFC Academy on September 1st.
Dias slotted in at left back in replace of injured defender Mark-Anthony Kaye who had been recently named to Canada’s U-23 team for Olympic Qualifying.
Also missing Thursday’s match were Chris Mannella, Quillan Roberts, Mo Babouli, Skylar Thomas and Jay Chapman, all of whom were also selected to Canada’s U-23 squad.
Midfielder Richie Ennin and defender Klaidi Cela made their TFC II debuts in Thursday’s contest after subbing on in the 61st minute of the match.
Both Ennin, who recently turned 17, and Cela, 16, have spent this season playing in League1 Ontario with the TFC Academy.
The young Reds knew they’d have their hands full against the Rhinos who were going to use the match as preparation for their first playoff tilt on October 3rd.
TFC II nearly saw themselves go down a goal two minutes into the match.
Rochester got a head onto a corner kick that had goalkeeper Phil Di Bennardo beat but luckily Sal Bernal was guarding the post and was able to clear the header off the line.
Bernal had a chance of his own four minutes later after being sent in alone but Rochester goalkeeper Brandon Miller was able to get a hand on Bernal’s attempt at picking out the bottom right corner.
The rest of the first half was quite and both teams went into the locker room with a scoreless draw.
The second half saw the Rhinos net both of their goals, the first of which coming in the 69th minute.
Colin Rolfe received a pass inside the box and calmly placed it into the bottom left corner past an outstretched Di Bennardo for his sixth goal of the season.
Rochester added to their lead in the late stages of the match.
Asani Samuels pulled a step over move to set himself up for a left-footed shot that beat Di Bennardo from a difficult angle.
Brandon Miller would go on to collect his 13th shutout of the season as the match ended 2-0 in favour of the Rhinos.
RCH – Colin Rolfe 69’ (Marcos Ugarte)
RCH – Asani Samuels 85’
Toronto FC II: 6-17-5 23pts.
Rochester Rhinos: 17-1-10 61pts.
Toronto FC II – Filippo Di Bennardo; Andrew Dias, Daniel Fabrizi, Emeka Ononye (Klaidi Cela 62’), Marcus Godinho; Liam Fraser (Anthony Osorio 79’), Luca Uccello ©, Sal Bernal, Raheem Edwards (Richie Ennin 61’); Massimo Mirabelli (Edwin Rivas 72’), Jordan Hamilton (Reshon Phillip 73’)
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Wesley Charpie
Rochester Rhinos – Brandon Miller; Alex Dixon (Onua Obasi 65’), Vassilios Apostolopolous, Grant Van De Casteele (Nate Bordeau 65’), Drew Ruggles; Marcos Ugarte, Sean Totsch, Jonny Mendoza (Christian Volesky 58’), Tony Walls ©; Colin Rolfe (Asani Samuels 76’), Kenardo Forbes (Timi Mulgrew 85’)
Substitutes Not Used: Adam Grinwis, Steevan Dos Santos
• Andrew Dias made his first start for Toronto FC II
• Richie Ennin made his Toronto FC II and USL debut
• Klaidi Cela made his Toronto FC II and USL debut