Who: TFC II (1-0-1) vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (0-1-0)
When: Sunday, April 17 at 4:00PM ET
Where: Ontario Soccer Centre
Home Opener! TFC II are at the Ontario Soccer Centre this Sunday to battle the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at 4PM ET.
The Young Reds are coming off a huge 2-1 victory over rivals FC Montreal thanks to Malik Johnson’s incredible solo effort and Raheem Edwards’ second goal of the season.
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds have played only one match this season, a 1-0 loss back on April 2nd against 2015 USL Champions Rochester Rhinos.
Their match last weekend against the Harrisburg City Islanders was postponed due to heavy snowfall, meaning the team has played only one competitive match since the beginning of the season three weeks ago.
Another cause of concern for the Riverhounds is that they’ll be without their captain Kevin Kerr come Sunday due to travel restrictions.
“Glad he won’t be there [on Sunday],” said TFC II Head Coach Jason Bent with a laugh. “He was a thorn in our side along with Rob Vincent last year so I’m delighted I won’t see him this weekend.”
Vincent will also be missing after signing with MLS club D.C. United in February. The midfielder led the Riverhounds with 18 goals last season.
Nonetheless, Pittsburgh is still a very strong side with the likes of Stephen Okai and Lebo Moloto in midfield.
“They kind of had our number last season. The first game I felt was quite tight,” said Bent. “We were winning just before half but we lost a man and then we had to play the entire second half down a man and the game changed.”
“The other two games we played at home they were arguably the better side but we still competed. Hopefully we can right the ship this weekend,” he added.
Youth Making An Impact
What a way to score your first professional goal. A minute after being substituted, Malik Johnson scored a Messi-esque solo goal in the 2-1 victory on the weekend, tearing through the Montreal midfield and backline before rounding the keeper and slotting it home.
“I mean that’s a world class goal. We couldn’t ask much more from a player entering the game,” said Bent. “It was a huge boost for the team and gave us a platform to go on and win the three points.”
Also making a positive impact through the first two matches of the season has been 17-year-old midfielder Aidan Daniels. His name hasn’t appeared on the score sheet, but Daniels has been a calming presence and has adapted well in midfield in a 4-3-3 formation since his call-up from the Kia Toronto FC Academy to begin the season.
Making his TFC II and USL debut against FC Montreal was 16-year-old Shaan Hundal who was called-up from the Kia TFC Academy only a few days prior.
Head Coach Jason Bent was quite content with what he saw in the young striker against their rivals.
“We’ve always tested young players and that’s the purpose of this team. He’s been doing well with the Pod 1 and [did well] at the Generation adidas Cup,” said Bent. “I thought he did well for a 16-year-old in his professional debut. We see some positive things from him.”