‘Brave’ TFC II playing well against top competition

Through a tough 2017, positives can be taken from wins over top USL clubs

VAUGHAN, Ont. – TFC II are unbeaten against Louisville City FC and Charlotte Independence, the United Soccer League’s top two Eastern Conference teams.

Not the results expected from a last place club.

On Wednesday, TFC II (6-17-7) defeated Louisville (16-6-7) 1-0 on home turf, giving them one win and one draw against the East leaders. The team has also claimed two victories over second-place Charlotte (13-7-9) this season.

This has been a rough year for Toronto FC’s affiliate, but head coach Jason Bent still credits his team’s toughness.

“We have been preaching all year that on any day, we can play with any team in the Eastern Conference,” Bent said Wednesday after his team’s victory. “I challenge the players to be brave, and we have been showing great resilience.”

With two games remaining on their schedule, the Young Reds will finish no higher than 14th place out of 15 teams in the East. This can only occur if the Richmond Kickers fail to record a win in their final three matches.

Despite enduring a difficult year, Bent is encouraged with his team’s long-term outlook.

“You have to make sure you bring it every single game regardless (of team record), and we’re doing that against the top clubs,” said Bent. “We’ve had two pretty good performances against two top of the table teams this year, so we will take the positives and move forward.”

Perhaps no TFC II player has embodied Bent’s “brave” mentality in recent weeks more than forward Shaan Hundal.

After a slow start to the season, Hundal has scored in each of his team’s last two matches, including the only goal in their win over Louisville.

The Brampton native started the year slowly, netting his first goal 21 games into the season against Charleston Battery.

As the year progressed, the 18-year-old continued to work hard and has shown improvement at the right time.

“I feel like I’ve been more confident now and it’s made me a better player,” Hundal said Wednesday at the Ontario Soccer Centre. “I was under a lot of pressure to score goals because the side hasn’t been great this season, but lately I feel like I have risen to the occasion.”

Against top clubs, the forward feels it is important for his team to make a statement despite their overall record.

“I feel like we have something to prove when we play the top teams,” said Hundal. “We haven’t had the best season, but playing big against top opponents and tough teams, we have something to prove and we’ve shown it.”

TFC II’s final two matches will be played at home against Bethlehem Steel and FC Cincinnati, two teams in playoff spots but not near the top of the table.

Coach Bent is hoping his team’s recent play against the USL’s elite will translate to their remaining games in order to end the year on a positive note.

“(Louisville and Charlotte) are big games, but every game is a big game at this level.

“The season is 32 games. It’s great that we’ve played tough against the top teams, but we cant take any games off.”