KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Late goals by Reshaun Walkes and Kobe Franklin lifted Toronto FC II into a 2-1 comeback win Sunday over Orlando City B and secured a playoff berth for the TFC reserve team on the final day of the inaugural MLS Next Pro season.
Trailing 1-0, Toronto pulled even in the 86th minute on a goal by Walkes before Franklin hammered home the winner in the 90th minute. Moises Tablante had opened the scoring for Orlando in the 55th minute at Osceola Heritage Park.
Walkes, cutting into the penalty box after a give-and-go with Markus Cimermancic, took advantage of an Orlando defender falling before hitting a shot that bounced off a defender past Orlando 'keeper Mason Stajduhar.
Franklin's goal came off a Toronto free kick. The initial ball was headed away by an Orlando defender but went straight to Franklin, who let the ball bounce once then swung his right leg through it from well outside the penalty box. Stajduhar dove to his left but could not stop the dipping shot.
Toronto (12-9-3) finished atop the Northeast Division and second in the Eastern Conference.
Four teams qualify from each conference — the two division champions plus the next two teams with the most points.
Columbus Crew II (16-3-5) finished atop both the Eastern Conference and Central Division. Philadelphia II (11-9-4) and RNY FC (10-8-6) also made the playoffs in the East.
A TFC II loss in regulation and wins by Philadelphia Union II and Inter Miami II in regulation would have eliminated TFC II from the playoffs. The Philadelphia Union II downed the visiting New England Revolution II 3-1 while Inter Miami II lost 1-0 at the Chicago Fire II.
Toronto had lost its two previous outings, 4-3 to Inter Miami II and 1-0 to Rochester New York FC.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2o22
The Canadian Press