March 23, 2017 USL Toronto FC II--Toronto FC II 2017 Season Preview (from

2017 USL Preview: Toronto FC II
By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 03/23/17, 1:02PM EDT 

New additions look to boost youthful side in third season

Toronto FC II again had bright moments in its second season in the USL – a 2-1 victory 
against defending champion the Rochester Rhinos the peak performance of the year – but again 
lacked the consistency to mount a serious challenge for a postseason berth. With a number 
of its top young players back with the side, and the addition of some experience to a back 
line that has undergone some major changes this offseason, Head Coach Jason Bent’s side 
could pose more problems, more consistently for its opponents this year.

Head Coach: Jason Bent
Stadium: Ontario Soccer Centre
2016 results: 7-18-5, 26pts
2016 postseason: N/A

Goalkeeper: Toronto added experience in goal this offseason with the signing of Mark Pais, 
who made 28 appearances over the past two seasons for Saint Louis FC. He is joined by the 
returning duo of Angelo Cavaluzzo, who made five appearances for the side a season ago, 
and 19-year-old Phil Di Bennardo, who had seven appearances as he made the move up from 
the Toronto FC Academy.

Defense: TFC II saw two of its leading defenders from a season ago depart this offseason 
with Skylar Thomas joining the Charleston Battery and Wesley Charpie heading 
to Saint Louis FC, but made the addition of former First Round MLS SuperDraft selection 
Jordan McCrary from the New England Revolution. Mitchell Taintor also returns to the side 
are recording almost 2,000 minutes of action a year ago, and signed MLS SuperDraft 
selection Lars Eckenrode from Michigan. The likes of Brandon Aubrey could also help add 
to the back line this season on loan from the club’s MLS squad.

Midfield: A trio of players who played for Canada at the CONCACAF U20 Championship appear 
set to lead the side’s midfield this year, with Luca Uccello, Liam Fraser and Aidan Daniels 
all returning to the side this season. Malik Johnson, who was named to the USL 20 Under 20 
a season ago, and Anthony Osorio also return to the side, as does Brian James, who finished 
second on the side with 1,912 minutes of action a year ago while logging two goals 
and two assists.

Forward: The other Toronto FC II player named to the USL 20 Under 20 a season ago, 
Shaan Hundal, also finished tied for the team-lead with six goals, and will be looking 
for more this season after also competing for Canada at the CONCACAF U20 Championship. 
TFC II also sees Ricard John return after his three goals in four appearances late 
in the 2016 season, and the side could also benefit from the presence of players like 
Mo Babouli on loan from Toronto FC.

Strengths: Toronto’s midfield is full of strong young talent, and could provide the key 
to success if the side is to push higher in the Eastern Conference this year. Players 
like Luca Uccello and Liam Fraser in particular are now closing in on 50 appearances 
in the USL prior to the age of 20, and that experience should be beneficial as they look 
to drive more consistent performances this season.

Weaknesses: TFC II’s defense has been its downfall over the past two years, the side 
conceded an Eastern Conference-high 58 goals a year ago, and will need to make a marked 
improvement this season. The addition of Jordan McCrary, a former PDL standout before 
the start of his professional career in New England, should help, as should the addition 
of Mark Pais, but the club’s youngsters will also need to show improvement to give the 
club a stronger foundation.

Key number: 5 – Five members of Toronto FC II were part of Canada’s squad for the 
CONCACAF U20 Championship, with potential Academy signing Dante Campbell joining Daniels, 
Fraser, Uccello and Hundal in the squad.

Noteworthy matchups: Toronto welcomes the Rochester Rhinos for its home opener 
on April 7, and then visits Ottawa Fury FC on April 22 for the first meeting between 
the two Ontario clubs. TFC II’s first visit from Ottawa is set for July 8, and the 
club concludes the season with three consecutive home contests as it welcomes
Louisville City FC, Bethlehem Steel FC and FC Cincinnati to the Ontario Soccer Centre.

Coach’s view: “I think us as an organization, as a team, myself as a coach, we’re 
going to be under a bit more pressure in order to get some more results next season. … 
We’re competitive, we want to win for sure, and we’re going to need to get a few more 
wins that we did this season.” – Toronto FC II Head Coach Jason Bent  

Current roster (updated: March 21, 2017):
Goalkeepers: Angelo Cavaluzzo, Mark Pais, Phil Di Bennardo
Defenders: Jordan McCrary, Mitchell Taintor, Juan Pablo Saavedra, Lars Eckenrode
Midfielders: Aidan Daniels, Liam Fraser, Brian James, Malik Johnson, Anthony Osorio, Luca Uccello
Forwards: Shaan Hundal, Ricardo John

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