The City Islanders defeated Toronto FC II 2-1 Tuesday night at Clipper Magazine Stadium thanks to Paul Wilson, Aaron Wheeler, and the assistant referee.
The City Islanders made just two changes from their win over Bethlehem on Sunday. Josh Hughes replaced Danny DiPrima in the center of the midfield and Cardel Benbow replaced Jose Barril on the left. Barril missed his first game of the season while serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.
The game started slow with both teams showing signs of fatigue from their games over the weekend. Fifteen minutes into the match, things started to pick up speed. The City Islanders were the more threatening side but were unable to capitalize on their early opportunities.
Against the run of play, Toronto FC II’s Malik Johnson gathered the ball in the midfield and put forward Shaan Hundal through on goal. Hundal beat Broome and sent a soft shot toward the bottom left corner of the net. Johnson backtracked and attempted to clear the ball off the line, but was too late.
Unfortunately for Toronto, the assistant referee had incorrectly raised his flag to signal offside. The replay clearly showed defender Liam Doyle keeping Hundal onside. The goal was disallowed and play continued: 0 - 0.
The City Islanders responded a few minutes later when Wilson intercepted a poor pass in the midfield. Seeing the keeper off his line, Wilson curled the ball up and over Toronto’s Quillian Roberts and into the net: CIFC 1 - 0 Toronto FC II.
After the first goal, the Islanders were able to maintain pressure. From a throw in, leftback Shawn McLaws tossed the ball to Aaron Wheeler with a man on. Wheeler held the ball for a moment, then turned and took two touches before blasting the ball with his left foot into the net: CIFC 2 - 0 Toronto FC II.
The first half ended and the City Islanders went into halftime with a two-goal lead.
The second half dragged for periods as both teams showed fatigue. City Islanders manager Bill Becher used all five of his available substitutions throughout the half, relieving Hughes, Wheeler, Benbow, Bolduc, and Wilson.
The City Islanders did well to maintain possession and even managed a few chances moving forward but nothing to threaten the Toronto keeper.
After adding a defender in the 90’, the Islanders allowed Toronto’s Brian James to pick his way through the midfield and defense and fire a shot passed Broome for a goal: CIFC 2 - 1 Toronto FC II.
The match promptly ended after the Toronto goal. The City Islanders managed a victory at home but were aided by the poor offside call in the first half. Had that goal been allowed, Toronto would have earned a point on the road.
The most disappointing part of the match was the late concession. CIFC controlled possession and were able to dictate the pace throughout much of the match. Allowing Toronto to score late shows either fatigue from schedule congestion or a lack of mental toughness.
The City Islanders need to stay sharp for the full 90’ if they want to continue climbing the Eastern Conference table.
CIFC’s next match against FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium on Saturday May 28 at 7:00pm.
Lineup (4-4-2): Broome; McLaws, Johnson, Doyle, Thomas; Bolduc (Campbell 88’), Warshaw, Hughes (DiPrima 62’), Benbow (Jankouskas 82’); Wheeler (Foster 68’), Wilson (Leverock 90’)
Bench: Ebanks, Foster, Hill, Noble
Goals: 26’ Wilson, 29’ Wheeler (McLaws)
Cautions: 86’ Bolduc