Preview: TFC II vs. FC Cincinnati

The Young Reds fell to Cincinnati in their 1st matchup in May

Toronto FC II will wrap up their 2017 season against FC Cincinnati on Saturday night at the Ontario Soccer Centre.

Coming off a 4-2 loss to Bethlehem Steel FC last week, the Young Reds look to end their schedule with a victory.

FC Cincinnati (11-10-10) currently sits in eight place in the Eastern Conference, and a victory would guarantee the team a playoff spot.

With so much riding on the match for his opponents, head coach Jason Bent wants his team to prioritize its own game.

“We’re just focused on our own performance and trying to finish the season on a high note,” Bent said Wednesday after practice. “I want my guys to play well and get some offence going here at the end of our season.”

Previous Matchups

The two sides last met in May at Nippert Stadium. FC Cincinnati came away with a 1-0 victory, sparked by an 18th-minute header from Danni Konig.

FCC goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt had a strong effort, stopping a number of TFC II second-half chances.

The 2016 USL goalkeeper of the year looks to be in the running for the honour again this season. He has recorded seven clean sheets and stopped 98 shots in 2017.

Last season in Vaughan, Raheem Edwards scored for the Reds but Cincinnati scored twice in the second half to take the match 2-1.

Hundal player to watch 

Shaan Hundal netted two second-half goals last week against Bethlehem, bringing his season total to six. The forward has scored in three straight matches and will look to continue his streak in the club’s final game of the year.

The 18-year-old has impressed his coach with his recent form.

“Shaan is showing a little more confidence and has been playing well lately,” said Bent. “His hold-up play has been good. He’s been holding up bigger defenders and turning them at key moments as well.”

Despite his recent success, Bent still wants his leading scorer to focus on improving his game heading into next season.

“There’s always room for improvement,” he said. “I’d like to see (Hundal), 40-45 yards away from the box, thinking about linking play and providing an option in possession. That’s the next step.”

Other storylines

  • Six players aged 20 or younger featured in last week’s clash with Bethlehem. Look for TFC II to prioritize its academy with no chance to move up in the standings.
  • Saturday will mark the Young Reds’ final game at the Ontario Soccer Centre. The club will be splitting its home games between BMO Field and Lamport Stadium in 2018.
  • Kickoff for the match is set for 7:30 PM. The club will host Fan Appreciation Night in their final home game.