What Did We Learn From TFC II vs NYRB II?

TFC II walked away from Red Bull Arena with a well deserved point.

It looked like a promising match for TFC II, but the young Reds were unable to hold off a high pressure NYRB II squad who were led by the attacking threat of Brandon Allen. Allen’s second half brace was enough for his side to draw TFC II in the 2016 USL season opener.

The match started off even for both clubs, as neither were able to muster a attacking threat. TFC II were still able to create chances though, as winger Raheem Edwards worked hard to get his shots on goal. The speedy winger didn’t just use his pace, but his dribbling ability came in handy.

For NYRB II, they were relying on the seven players loaned down to the second team. One of those players, Derrick Etienne Jr., was particularly one to watch for before the match. Early on, the American born Haitian international was causing problems on the left flank for TFC II. His ability to fight his way into the box looked promising, but the strong play of Skylar Thomas and Mitchell Taintor early on helped relieved the tension delivered by NYRB II.

Before the match, TFC II head coach Jason Bent said he expected his opponents to be a high pressure club. On Saturday, the Red Bulls II were just that. Many times did NYRB II pressure TFC II’s backline into making mistakes, but the young Reds looked composed and patiently waited for their chances.

Their patience paid off in the 35th minute when a play started by Toronto FC loanee fullback Mark Bloom, who then dished a pass to winger Sal Bernal, who then made a nice through pass to Molham Babouli, who finally spotted a wide open Edwards and made a nice low cross pass to his former Sheridan College teammate to give his side an early 1-0 lead.

Then in the 45th, TFC II struck again with a nice high through ball that caught most of the Red Bulls II defenders off guard and fell right onto the feet of a rushing Thomas, who gave his side a crucial 2-0 lead going into the second half.

However the second half was a different story, as NYRB II striker, Brendan Allen came on and sparked a comeback. The 22-year-old scored a 66th minute penalty to bring the Red Bulls II back into the game, and then his shot in the 70th was deflected by a diving Thomas inside the box and gave his side two goals in four minutes.

Both teams were unable to push for another goal and the match ended as a draw. Not the three points TFC II would’ve wanted, but still an important point to take away on the road from a good team.

Bono Made Some Key Saves

With Quillan Roberts with the first team, Alex Bono now has a chance to be the number one goalie for TFC II and earn valuable minutes to further his development as a MLS keeper.

Bono was tested early on, being able to make saves against a Red Bulls II strike force determined for the back of the net. Key saves against striker Stefano Bonomo, Sean Davis and Allen allowed the young Reds to stay in the game.

However, it was Allen that got the best of Bono, but the 23-year-old Syracuse grad cannot be totally to blame for both goals. The first was a penalty shot that Bono initially saved, but was unable to get back on his feet for the rebound. The second was a deflected shot off the foot of Thomas who was diving to keep the ball out. Bono had his eye on the ball, but was thrown off from the deflection.

Bono ended the match with eight saves off 10 shots on target. A good outing for a keeper looking to develop even more as a goalie.

TFC II Handled Themselves Well Under Pressure

Facing a team like the Red Bulls II, who play a similar style to their MLS affiliate, it wasn’t going to easy for the young Reds. But it seemed like playing together last year helped some players when the two faced off Saturday. 

From the beginning of the match, NYRB II were all over the TFC II backline, trying to intercept passes and cause havoc in their defensive third. But for some players, they stayed calm and looked for teammates to safely get it out of harm’s way. Something that Bent has said he wants to see more of.

Considering that they gave up two goals in the span of four minutes, the young Reds stayed on their feet and remained calm. A good sign going forward.

TFC II will be off next week, but will return to action on April 9 when they visit rival FC Montreal. 


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