Toronto FC II has yet to win a match on the road, but at home the young squad has taken three wins out of five while racking up 13 goals during that stretch.
High scoring road matches were a hallmark of the Union II season back in March and April when they slugged out 3-3 draws with Miami and Chicago. Lately, however, the road goals have dried up and Marlon LeBlanc’s group will be hunting for their first tally on the road in three games.
This hot-and-cold start is not uncommon for a young team that changes personnel often, so Union II will be looking for mental toughness from high-ceiling attackers like Bajung Darboe and Nelson Pierre to help create offense and take the pressure off a back line that will be missing key cog Brandan Craig.
Along with Paxten Aaronson, Quinn Sullivan, and Jack McGlynn, Craig is likely to be called up for the US U-20 National Team that will seek qualification in the U-20 World Cup in June and early July. While those potential absences take important pieces off the table for LeBlanc and his staff, it offers a chance for continuity for the rest of the team.
Striker Christian Donovan and defender Nathan Nkanji will need to fully step into the spotlight, while Jack Jasinski and Boubacar Diallo look to supplement the attack. The number of potentially game-changing players on the Union II roster is impressive, but the Union philosophy requires the full team to stay connected; one player having a big game is fine but the team controlling a game’s shape and space is the true objective.
Tune in on Sunday, June 11 at 6:00 p.m. on MLSNextPro.com as Union II and TFCII meet for the first time in MLS NEXT Pro action.