Photo courtesy Martin Bazyl / Toronto FC II
VAUGHAN, Ont. – Toronto FC II and the Richmond Kickers played to a 0-0 draw on Wednesday afternoon at the Ontario Soccer Centre. Neither side was able create much in the opening 25 minutes, and Oliver Minatel’s header from Raul Gonzalez’s free kick which was saved by TFC II goalkeeper Mark Pais brought the first real scoring chance in the 28th minute. The Kickers (2-4-4, 10pts) ramped up the pressure as the half went on, and Pais had to make another good save to keep out a header by Chris Durkin in the 41st minute, but the teams went to the break scoreless. Richmond’s Mikey Minutillo almost gave his side the lead three minutes into the second half, but his effort went just wide of the right post, while Toronto (1-5-4, 7pts) had its first good look at goal soon after as Shaan Hundal shot over after a clever back-heel in the penalty area by Luca Uccello. Toronto was reduced to 10 men on the hour-mark when Anthony Osorio was sent off, which allowed Richmond to ramp up its pressure, but Toronto held on to earn a point as Pais finished with a five-save shutout.
Three Things That Matter:
1. On the balance of play, the Kickers should have claimed all three points from Wednesday’s game comfortably, but the team’s inability to execute in the penalty area left more points on the table. The Kickers have now drawn four consecutive games, and have scored only two goals in the past five games. If the team’s run of reaching the USL Cup Playoffs in every season of the league’s history is to continue, the Kickers front line must start firing.
2. Toronto had managed to get more of a foothold in the game in the second half after finding little joy in the final third during the first half, but that was shot to pieces when Anthony Osorio got himself sent off just a minute after coming on as a substitute in the 59th minute. After a tussle for possession with Richmond’s Alex Lee inside the Toronto half, Osorio’s overreaction as the players untangled left his side under even stronger pressure from the visitors for the final half-hour, but more importantly greatly diminished the chance for three points on home turf.
3. United States U17 international Chris Durkin returned to the Richmond lineup for the first time since helping the U.S. U17s reach the World Cup at the 2017 CONCACAF U17 Championship in Panama earlier this month, and put in a solid shift in the center of midfield has he continued to belie his age against more experienced opposition. Durkin still could be stronger on the ball, he came up short winning only six of 17 duels, but when he got on the ball Durkin was stellar, completing 50-of-56 passes and having two well-hit shots from 25 yards charged down. Much is thought of the D.C. United Homegrown signing, and he showed again on Wednesday why.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Brandon Aubrey, Toronto FC II – Aubrey held Toronto’s defense together well, particularly after the side went down to 10 men, recorded eight clearances and three interceptions, and won all six of his duels.
Toronto FC II at FC Cincinnati – May 27, 5 p.m. ET, Nippert Stadium
Richmond Kickers at Ottawa Fury FC – May 27, 2 p.m. ET, TD Place