Photo courtesy Martin Bazyl / Toronto FC II
TORONTO – Jordan Hamilton scored in stoppage time as Toronto FC II earned a 2-2 draw with the Charlotte Independence on Wednesday night at BMO Field, a result that saw the 10-man Independence extend their undefeated streak to 12 games, tying a club record. Toronto (4-12-6, 18pts) almost took the lead in the seventh minute as Hamilton got in behind the Independence defense, but Independence goalkeeper Cody Mizell did enough to allow his defense to recover and snuff out the threat. Charlotte’s Jaime Siaj forced a tipped save by TFC II’s Mark Pais in the 16th minute on the Independence’s first chance, but Toronto had the better chances in the first half. Shaan Hundal almost connected with a low cross from Tsubasa Endoh in the 37th minute, and Hamilton had his shot from 20 yards saved a few minutes later. Jordan McCrary volleyed over for the hosts in the final minute of the first half, but Hamilton broke the deadlock four minutes into the second half with a low finish from the left side of the penalty area. The Independence (11-3-7, 40pts) leveled just past the hour-mark, however, as a cross from the right by Joel Johnson deflected into the net as Pais was unable to claim cleanly. Charlotte was reduced to 10 men with 25 minutes to go as Donnie Smith was sent off for a dangerous challenge on McCrary, and moments later Hundal broke in on goal for the hosts, only to be denied by a low save from Mizell. Brian James also forced a save from the Independence’s goalkeeper in the 76th minute, but Charlotte’s David Estrada shot just wide of the left post a minute later. The Independence found the lead with 11 minutes to go as Siaj tucked home a finish into the right corner, but as it looked like the visitors had wrapped up victory, Hamilton scored on a curling finish to the bottom-left corner of the net in the second minute of stoppage time to earn his side a point.
49’ – TOR – Jordan Hamilton (Tsubasa Endoh)
62’ – CLT – Own Goal (Mark Pais)
79’ – CLT – Jaime Siaj (Henry Kalungi)
90+’ – TOR – Jordan Hamilton (Liam Fraser)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Independence equaled their longest undefeated streak in club history with a result that was earned despite the side not being at its best for much of the contest. Without its two leading scorers to start the game, and Saturday’s hat trick hero Enzo Martinez for the night due to suspension, Charlotte looked second-best as Toronto created the better chances before halftime. The hosts were rewarded for their play with the opening goal of the game, but as has been the case TFC II was unable to kick on – even when it acquired a man advantage. As a result, the chance to earn a second consecutive victory went by the wayside for the Young Reds.
2. The introduction of the team’s co-leading scorer Jorge Herrera and David Estrada around the hour-mark had a positive impact on the Independence, but the game really turned on a goalkeeping mistake by Toronto’s Mark Pais, who contrived to turn a cross by Joel Johnson from the right into his own net for an own goal despite no pressure from an encroaching attacker. The goal felt like the sort that happens to a team that can’t get the breaks to go its way, and set up the visitors for a good final half-hour.
3. The breaks continued to fall against Toronto even after Donnie Smith’s red card for Charlotte in the 65th minute, which should have sent the pendulum back toward Toronto. Instead, the Reds seemed unable to take advantage of their chances a man up, Shaan Hundal’s breakaway chance being denied by Charlotte goalkeeper Cody Mizell. As it seemed the chance at points had slipped away after the Independence’s Jaime Siaj broke the deadlock on a similar opportunity with 11 minutes to go, though, Toronto came through at the death through Hamilton, who produced a quality finish that gave Mizell little chance. The draw salvaged some positives for the hosts, and will also have been well received in Charleston, Tampa Bay and Louisville as well.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Jordan Hamilton, Toronto FC II – Hamilton was dangerous regularly throughout the match, and finally got his payoff in stoppage time with a good finish that earned the hosts a point.
Toronto FC II at Bethlehem Steel FC – August 13, 5 p.m. ET, Goodman Stadium
Charlotte Independence at Ottawa Fury FC – August 12, 7 p.m. ET, TD Place