Toronto FC II watched its post-season hopes disappear from afar Saturday in the USL League One regular-season finale.
FC Tucson (11-10-7) defeated the visiting Richmond Kickers 4-2 to drop Toronto below the playoff line in seventh place.
Toronto (10-10-8) had kept its playoff hopes alive Friday with a 1-0 victory over New England Revolution II at TFC's BMO Training Ground. The victory, courtesy of a spectacular volley by Paul Rothrock in the 62nd minute, moved Toronto into the sixth and last playoff spot — one point ahead of Tucson.
Tucson went into the regular-season finale knowing it could only make the post-season with a victory. While a draw would have put it level with Toronto on points, TFC 2 had the tiebreaker edge thanks to a better goal difference.
League One is the USL's second tier, underneath the 31-team USL Championship. League One's newly expanded playoff format this season features the top six in the 12-team standings.
The No. 3 seed hosts the No. 6 seed while No. 4 entertains No. 5 in the quarterfinals, with the two winning teams moving on to face the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the semifinals. The No. 1 seed will meet the lower-seeded team advancing from the quarterfinals.
The USL League One playoffs open Nov. 6.
In Tucson, Jonathan Bolanos put Richmond ahead in the 22nd minute, knocking home Matt Bolduc's cross. But Maxi Schenfeld tied it up two minutes later with a low shot from just outside the penalty box.
Deri Corfe made it 2-1 for Tucson in the 42nd minute, handcuffing Richmond 'keeper Akira Fitzgerald with a long-range shot that bounced en route. Emiliano Terzaghi pulled Richmond even with a 49th-minute penalty kick, his 18th goal of the season.
Luca Mastrantonio's header off a corner in the 52nd minute gave Tucson a 3-2 advantage with Shak Adams extending the lead to 4-2 in the 58th..
Toronto's win Friday clinched playoff berths for both Richmond (11-10-7) and North Texas SC (10-8-10). New England (11-13-4, 37) dropped below the playoff line.
It's been a marathon season for TFC 2, which started play in Arizona due to the pandemic, before shifting to Florida and then returning home.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2021
The Canadian Press