Match: Toronto FC II vs. Bethlehem Steel FC
Date: Saturday, May 13th
Time: 6:00 PM
Venue: BMO Field (Toronto, Ont.)
Steel All Time v. TFCII (W-L-D): 0-2-0
What Toronto will look like: Hey, it’s another MLS 2 side! What we know about our northern neighbors is a bit limited but let’s run down some facts. Last year both matches against Steel ended in a 3-2 result for the Junior Reds. Shaan Hundal was a catalyst for a pretty middle of the road TFC II side but he propelled his club to wins in both prior meetings. Toronto is coming off a win against Pittsburgh but that was over a week ago, so while they will be rested there’s a chance they come out a bit flat. Angelo Cavalluzzo was nominated for Player of the Month (I voted for him) after putting up an absurd 18 saves with three clean sheets.
Defensively this team is well off. On the offensive side of things however, not so much. Two goals isn’t a great way to reward your keeper for some fantastic play at the back, and I really don’t know how Toronto would get off the blocks in this one either.
What Bethlehem will look like: Two positive results (yes, I’m putting the 0-1 loss to the Battery here) has Steel craving a much needed win on the road.
Steel Assistant Coach Stephen Hogan (Head Coach Brendan Burke was at a coaching conference in Florida) knows what this is like. He was with Bethlehem last year when all they needed was a single point to make the playoffs come the end of the season. He knows that getting road wins against teams you should beat is pivotal to finishing in a coveted playoff spot, and the rest of the team gets it too. This game will be a playoff atmosphere - after all, it’s taking place at the newly renovated and absolutely gorgeous BMO Field. Not only does it double as a really pretty back drop, it’ll provide some of the young kids on the team a chance to get the feeling for an MLS stadium.
Steel’s success now lies in the ability for James Chambers to link up well with his midfield partners. Whether it be the Philadelphia Union contracted Adam Najem or New York City FC cast off Chris Wingate, Chambo’s ability to pick passes and splice open a defense will be crucial to Steel’s success. We’ve seen Cory Burke and Seku Conneh rifle in goals and we know Chris Nanco off the bench is probably the most lethal substitute that Bethlehem have ever had. The question boils down to when they get chances on Cavalluzzo will they make them count? If they do I’ll go with a Steel 3-0 win.