Toronto, Ontario, Canada - The Greenville Triumph head North of the border to face Toronto FC II for the first time since the 2019 season. Toronto FC II did not participate in the shortened 2020 season and has been playing in various parks within the States thus far into the 2021 season. The July 30th match against Greenville will mark their club's first home match since September 27, 2019.
The match will also mark the first time Greenville has dealt with international travel since August 23, 2019, their last match with Toronto FC II. The world has changed quite a bit since that last meeting, which means this week has been much more than on-the-pitch training for Triumph SC.
For the first time in a season and a half, Toronto FC II will return home for a USL League One match. The Canadian-based club did not participate in the 2020 season and has seen both Florida and Arizona act as their home field throughout the 2021 season.
Toronto FC II has lost three of its last five, most recently dropping three points against Revolution II last Friday. Other results went favorably enough to keep Toronto FC II above the playoff line, but it has been a constant shift in the 4-7 spots of the table. Toronto FC II has a 5-6-4 record through 15 matches played and currently sits in sixth.
This match against Greenville holds quite a bit of weight for the home side -- three points breaks you away from the pack while any lost points could open you up to being jumped by a Forward Madison side that has played one fewer match and is only one point behind. Toronto has failed to log a clean sheet this season, but has the fourth-most goals scored on the season. They like to knock the ball around and do relatively well, but Greenville is a side that is perfectly content without having the ball. Sure, possession is great, but possession that doesn't break lines doesn't necessarily hurt the opposition. Greenville is the favorite on paper, but Toronto FC II has a lot to play for come Friday afternoon.
Added Stress: This hasn't been a normal week of prep for Greenville. Per head coach John Harkes, it's been a week of added stress due to the international travel. There has been more to focus on than just training and preparing, much more. In fact, Greenville will potentially be short on available players due to the restrictions placed when entering the Canadian border. This Greenville side has dealt with its fair share of adversity this season, such as 14 out of 20 rostered players being injured at various points, but Harkes doesn't see that or the travel issues as an excuse. It is, however, something that must be taken into consideration with regard to how the game is managed.
Conviction through 90: The Triumph has struggled a bit this season to stay tuned in through an entire game. We've seen some lazy fouls and some poor marking on set pieces. In fact, Harkes feels that his team hasn't really played one game up to their potential. There have been moments of brilliance from the Upstate side as a whole and on an individual level. As we get into the second half of the season, and teams are facing a bit more pressure to make the playoffs, it's imperative to stretch those moments into 90-minute performances.
Injury Report: 2020 All-League selection Noah Pilato has been sidelined with a back injury for eight straight weeks and starting right back Abdi Mohamed will be unavailable this weekend due to a hamstring injury. Will Mejia remains on the injured list, but Lachlan McLean has returned to the pitch as the Aussie striker made his first appearance back from injury in Greenville's 1-1 draw with Chattanooga.
League One Standings: Greenville's 1-1 draw with second place Chattanooga kept the two sides in the same positions as the week before, while Omaha stretched their lead after earning three points in a 2-1 win over Tucson. Greenville has played one more match than both Omaha and Chattanooga at this point. Rounding out the cut-off point is South Georgia Tormenta FC, Revolution II and Toronto FC II, respectively.
Golden Boot: Marios Lomis continues to lead the league in goals with 12 after scoring the equalizer from Greenville last Saturday night. The Dutch striker remains Greenville's points leader with 25 from 12 goals and one assist. Lomis is now the first and only Triumph player to reach double-digit goals in a single season and is on track to take the title for most career goals with the Triumph.
The Greenville Triumph return to Triumph Stadium at Legacy Early College next week for its first of two August home matches. Greenville will face South Georgia for the fourth time this season on August 7th at 7:00pm, with gates opening at 6:00pm. The first 1000 fans will receive a free pair of Triumph green sunglasses courtesy of Hilton of Greenville.