New York City FC II travel to Toronto, Ontario, looking for the first win of their inaugural campaign of the MLS Next Pro League. Sadly the team was denied that opportunity as they fell by a score of 3-1.
NYCFC II are running the same 4-3-3 shape as last match against Orlando City B, while Toronto FC II are attacking in a 4-2-3-1 shape.
The first chance of the match came in the 8th minute from a Julian Altobelli left footed shot that missed just wide of the left post.
NYCFC II responded fast with their first attempt coming in the 10th minute, where Stephen Turnbull just missed a right footed shot towards the right post.
The best chance for the visiting side came when Toronto goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsig saved a right footed attempt from Jack Beer aiming for the bottom left corner.
The hosts took the lead in the 45th minute, with a Paul Rothrock header from a beautiful in-swinging cross from Themi Antonoglou on the left side right before the referee called for half-time.
The start of the second half saw New York City FC II play with higher intensity, which forced NYC goalkeeper Alex Rando to make a fine save in a 2v1 situation. New York City’s intensity was rewarded 11 minutes into the second half with the game-tying goal.
Jack Beer received the ball from Steven Bednarsky on the edge of the penalty area on the right side, cut onto his left foot and rifled a shot into the top left corner.
The first substitutions were made in the 62nd minute, with Toronto FC II taking off Rohan Goulbourne and Julian Altobelli for Stefan Karajovanovic and Mehdi Essoussi New York City FC II had the chance to take the lead right after the changes were made, but Kenan Hot’s right footed shot was saved by Ranjitsig.
New York City FC II’s first personnel change came in the 70th minute, where forward John Denis replaced Julián Gómez.
Shortly thereafter, Toronto FC II took the lead on Hugo Mbongue’s first of two goals in the 75th minute. Paul Rothrock smashed a right footed shot off the crossbar which bounced right back into the middle of the penalty area for Mbongue, who calmly slotted the ball into the net with his right foot.
It only took 5 minutes after that for Mbongue to find the net again on a blistering counterattack from an NYC corner. Paul Rothrock found Mbongue in the center of the penalty area where he struck the ball with his left foot into the bottom right corner.
Brian Flores was substituted on for Dren Dobruna in the 79th minutes, right before Toronto FC II’s counterattack.
NYCFC II had two close chances in stoppage time after the 90th minute, with a John Denis shot going just left of the post and a Jack Beer left footed shot heading for the bottom left corner was saved by Greg Ranjitsig.
NYCFC II’s last chance to salvage a second goal came in the 96th minute on a Piero Elias left footed shot from very close range but was saved by Ranjitsig to end the match.
NYCFC II Head Coach Matt Pilkington
Thoughts on Toronto FC II’s goal just before half time…
“It didn’t actually change too much because I thought we had decent control of the game, we just have to be aware of counter attacks and being more connected when we’re passing and when we have the ball. It was a poor time to concede, but it didn’t affect too much because we already had an idea of what we wanted to talk about at halftime. We wanted to just reinforce our ideas, which was probably why we conceded.”
Thoughts on NYCFC II’s game-tying goal…
“We talked at halftime about starting the second half well and getting on the ball and just being a little bit more dynamic in the final third. I thought we did that and as a result we took control of the game for 15-20 minutes of the second half, scored the tying goal and then we let that slip a little and we lost the tempo of the game so we had to drop back off with our intensity and as a result let them back into the game, where for 15 or 20 minutes of the second half, we had a lot of control of the game, created a lot of chances and we dominated in their half. We just need to be able to do that for longer periods of time and that will come with experience and more time together as a group.”
Thoughts on the performance from the team…
“We continued to push young players into the lineup, you know a lot of the players haven’t had experience on a professional level before, so we had three players today that it was their first experience. I thought there were a lot of positives to take from the game and we’ll just keep working and we’ll learn from these experiences, and I think a lot of this is experience of playing at a different level. It’s an adjustment for them so as we go through the process, and we’ll keep pushing young talent through to keep developing the group. With a smaller squad this weekend I thought the players put forth a lot of effort, and the commitment was there we just we need to be cleaner, a little bit more connected with-and-without the ball, and be aware of our opponent’s style and how that can be dangerous at times. Once again a good learning experience for the staff and the players, and the group as a whole.”
NYCFC II Forward Jack Beer
Thoughts on his first goal of the season…
“It feels great. Obviously would’ve liked for it to be on a day that we’d win, but yeah. Seeing the ball hitting the back of the net is always a great feeling.”
Thoughts on how the goal set the tone for the second half…
“I thought we had a lot of chances in the second half and after that goal it looked like we were going to keep going, get two maybe three more. The game was very back-and-forth so it could’ve gone either way, but I was proud of our effort and our energy.”
What he was thinking before his goal…
“I saw that I had a lot of space in front of me, but I also saw the defender tracking and I thought, ‘there’s no one to my left, or to my right and I found a half-yard to shoot and that’s exactly what happened.”
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