Cyrus Rollocks (3') and Daniel Da Silva (22') scored early for Toronto FC III in their Matchweek 15 away fixture at Terry Fox Athletic Facility in Ottawa against Ottawa South United Force, and it proved decisive as the Junior Reds emerged on the right end of a -1 final scoreline.
"I thought we did really well today," said TFC III head coach, Danny Dichio.
"We made a couple changes just to shake things up, but I thought the young boys played a stellar game."
"We looked at our opponents and we knew that they were a good footballing team that tried to play on the deck and they had a good result last week. We came in with a game plan and the boys really stuck to it. I thought we looked a threat on attack and defensively we looked really good again."
Both teams had good chances early in the match, with Toronto FC creating numerous opportunities on the counter-attack via their excellent counter-pressing.
"It's mandated that we come with a competitive streak, an enthusiasm to play the game," said Dichio. "We can speak about things tactically and technically but that doesn't mean anything if we don't have those first two things to press ball, to hunt the ball, to get the ball as a group. That is something we're trying to build in across the academy and with our oldest team, TFC III, as well."
"I was really happy with that today as well. We have been working on it throughout the year, and they have made it work sporadically, but I hope today's performance will show them the success it brings."
Rollocks goal came from just such a situation, with TFC III winning the ball back quickly from OSU midfielders as they attempted to build an attack, and quickly cutting open the Ottawa defence down the left flank. A well-placed cross found Rollocks at the back post for a tap-in.
Da Silva's goal came from a dead ball scenario, the free kick being lofted into the box from about 35 yards out before an unmarked Da Silva rose to meet it on the head and easily nodded it into the top corner. TFC could have had more in the first half were it not for the good work of OSU keeper Dylan Roossien.
"On the counter-attack we hit the post three times, a cross-bar, we could have scored more goals if I'm being critical," said Dichio. "But I'm really happy with the performance after coming five or six hours on a rainy day in Ottawa."
OSU also had good chances, forcing TFC III keeper Gianluca into several phenomenal reaction and point-blank saves in the first half. It took until late in the second half for the breakthrough, as Toronto FC's third from Jordan Faria (62') served to wake up the home side.
A late surge from the Ottawans led to Gabriel Bitar's (88') opener, but it was too little, too late.
"Based on the results that TFC have had in the league, naturally we expected a challenge - and we got one," said OSU head coach, Traian Matheas.
"It's a professional academy team, a team that can play, they impressed me with their freshness and fitness as well. That comes from everyday football. You can see the difference."
"In our case, we are a bit thinner in our roster as we lost three or four players to university," he explained. "We had to make some changes and we struggled to get the defending shape in the first half, but we solved it in the second. We created chances too, and it was 1-1 in the second half so not too bad. I'm pleased with the boys."
OSU Force will next play North Mississauga on August 12 at Hershey Centre, Mississauga.
Toronto FC III will next play North Toronto Nitros on August 13 at Kia Training Ground, Toronto.