Photo courtesy of Harrisburg City Islanders
LANCASTER, Pa. – Toronto FC II cashed in on its scoring chances as Ayo Akinola scored two goals in a two-minute span during Sunday’s 4-2 victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Raheem Edwards opened the scoring with a first-half goal and second-half sub Aidan Daniels tallied late as Toronto held off the City Islanders, who had beaten TFC II 2-1 earlier this season on May 24. TFC II’s four goals are not only a season high but also a club high as the team did not generate more than three goals in a match during the 2015 campaign. Toronto improves to 5-11-4 (19 points) overall and 2-7-2 on the road, ending a three-game road losing streak. TFC II has won back-to-back matches, following up Wednesday’s 3-2 victory against Bethlehem Steel FC. Harrisburg’s woes continue as its winless streak goes to nine games (0-8-1). Garret Pettis’ 57th-minute rebound and then Jose Barril’s highlight-reel corner kick goal gave Harrisburg some hope down the stretch, but the host side could not quite make up the deficit. The City Islanders are now 4-13-2 (14 points) overall and 3-6-1 at home.
35’ – TOR – Raheem Edwards (Skylar Thomas)
48’ – TOR – Ayo Akinole
49’ – TOR – Ayo Akinole
57’ – HAR – Garret Pettis
68’ – HAR – Jose Barril
86’ – TOR – Aidan Daniels (Brian James)
Three Things That Mattered:
1. If you missed the opening few minutes of the second half to break away from your computer screen or go on a concession stand run, quite a bit happened during that stretch for TFC II. Ayo Akinole tallied back-to-back goals in the 48th and 49th minutes to boost Toronto’s lead to 3-0. The first tally was generated from a cross from the right. Dante Leverock slid in for a deflection, but the ball went to Akinole who finished the chance. Then one minute later, Akinole singlehandedly outplayed Bobby Warshaw, found himself one-on-one against Nick Noble and converted with Toronto’s third score of the match.
2. Toronto was virtually nonexistent in the offensive third during the first half, but the one opportunity the club had at close range, it capitalized on. TFC II pushed up with relative ease in the 35th minute as Skylar Thomas’ through ball set up Raheem Edwards down the left side. Edwards slotted his left-footed shot past City Islanders goalkeeper Nick Noble and inside the far right post for the game’s opening goal and a 1-0 Toronto lead. Edwards is TFC II’s leading goal-scorer with six on the season. That total also is a single-season club record as earlier in the year Edwards surpassed Mo Babouli’s four-goal campaign of 2015.
3. Though on the losing end, Jose Barril had the highlight of the match with a corner kick goal from the left side. His right-footed shot curled inside the far right post to cut Toronto’s lead to 3-2. Garret Pettis’ rebound 11 minutes earlier had started Harrisburg’s run as he followed up Paul Wilson’s initial shot that was stopped by Toronto goalkeeper Phil Di Bennardo. Di Bennardo later could not complete the match as he suffered a head injury and was replaced by Angelo Cavalluzzo with less than 20 minutes remaining.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Ayo Akinole, Toronto FC II – Akinole’s scoring early in the second half gave Toronto the boost it needed as TFC II fought off a City Islanders rally.
Harrisburg City Islanders at Pittsburgh Riverhounds – July 17, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium
Toronto FC II vs. Rochester Rhinos – July 20, 7:30 p.m. ET, Ontario Soccer Centre