Photo courtesy Martin Bazyl / Toronto FC II
VAUGHAN, Ont. – After conceding seven goals in two games in the club’s trip to Florida, Toronto FC II’s home opener on Friday night provided a chance for a reset.
The side responded accordingly, and in turn earned its second shutout of the season in a 0-0 draw against the Rochester Rhinos at the Ontario Soccer Centre.
“I think after a big road trip we got up and were very solid defensively and didn’t give away too much until the end where Angelo came up big for us,” said Toronto Head Coach Jason Bent. “We had our moments to get a goal, but it wasn’t to be, they’re a very solid team and very rarely give up any goals.”
Unlike their past two contests, TFC II looked sharper from the get-go, but still had to sustain good spells of pressure from its visitors. As much as the Rhinos pushed, though, the closest they came to taking the lead was a finish by Wal Fall that clipped the crossbar as goalkeeper Angelo Cavalluzzo wasn’t forced into a save in the first half.
The introduction of midfielder Sergio Camargo at halftime, the Homegrown signing making his comeback from a hip injury sustained in preseason, then tilted the game in Toronto’s favor. A former standout for K-W United FC in the Premier Development League, Camargo helped TFC II wrest control of the midfield, and almost provided the incisiveness needed to break down a solid Rochester defense.
“As a sub you want to come in and have that spark,” said Camargo. “Unfortunately, disappointed to not have could score a goal or make a play to score a goal.”
After his third appearance of the season, and first full half of action, Bent was pleased with what he saw from the former TFC Academy standout.
“He gave us something different and brought a maturity to the game and could drive the team forward,” said Bent. “Fantastic for him to get 45 minutes under his belt coming off an injury so I think these minutes will do him some good.”
While Camargo almost found the breakthrough just past the hour-mark when his close-range finish was well saved by Rochester goalkeeper Tomas Gomez, it was the Rhinos who threatened to grab a late winner. Although Angelo Cavalluzzo’s first save didn’t arrive until eight minutes to go, a fine stop to deny Fall from just outside the six-yard area, Toronto also needed a goal-line clearance by Oyvind Alseth off a header by Joe Farrell in the 75th minute to preserve the shutout.
With shots ending even, though, the improvement in the Toronto back line’s overall play earned a valuable point in blustery conditions.
“Out of all the elements I think the wind had the biggest role,” said Bent. “But all in all, it is April and it is Toronto.”