Silva Stars In Toronto Triumph

Rookie bags a brace and helps set up a pair in 5-1 victory over University of South Florida.

Photo: Toronto FC rookie midfielder Luis Silva

ORLANDO – Toronto FC won its first 2012 preseason match 5-1 in a friendly against University of South Florida at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Friday night.

Fourth overall 2012 MLS SuperDraft pick Luis Silva was the star of the evening with an early brace, then helping to set up two other goals – all in a five star first half.

Silva opened the scoring for the Reds when he found himself all alone with the keeper at the fifth minute. The rookie midfielder didn't panic, calmly slotting home to give Toronto the 1-0 lead.

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Five minutes later USF came close to an equalizer, but first half goalkeeper Stefan Frei came through with a big save for Toronto. The locals threatened throughout the early minutes of the wide-open affair, but TFC did just enough to keep them out.

At the 15th minute, Toronto doubled its advantage when Joao Plata sprinted down the wing and cut a ball back to Silva. The attacking midfielder made no mistake in passing the ball by the USF keeper for 2-0.

It took another five minutes for Plata to get on the score sheet himself. A perfectly timed crunching tackle from captain Torsten Frings knocked the ball through to the Ecuador international, who converted swiftly and it was 3-0 Toronto.

Reds’ passing game came through again on the fourth strike of the half. Plata flicked a ball to Silva, who laid off for Nick Soolsma before the Dutch forward made it 4-0.

Toronto made it a full hand at the 38th minute, when Terry Dunfield fired home from outside the 18-yard box. The Canadian international received a cross from Silva, giving the Reds a 5-0 lead at halftime.

Head coach Aron Winter made a full-team substitution in the second half. The goals dried up for Toronto while the match turned slightly chippy, leading Richard Eckersley to pick up a caution at the hour mark.

USF clawed back a goal at the 78th minute, which stood as the final tally in a 5-1 victory for Toronto.

The Reds will be in action next at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. Toronto starts the tournament on Saturday, February 25 at 6 p.m. ET against another Florida side, Orlando City SC of the USL. The match will be streamed live on TorontoFC.ca via Major League Soccer.

Toronto Goals

Silva 5' 15'
Plata 20'
Soolsma 23'
Dunfield 38'

Toronto Misconduct Summary

Eckersley 60' (caution)

Toronto First Half
Stefan Frei; Doneil Henry, Ty Harden, Miguel Aceval, Ashtone Morgan; Torsten Frings, Terry Dunfield, Luis Silva; Nick Soolsma, Ryan Johnson, Joao Plata

Toronto Second Half
Milos Kocic; Richard Eckersley, Geovanny Caicedo, Aaron Maund, Elbekay Bouchiba; Matt Stinson, Julian de Guzman, Eric Avila; Reggie Lambe, Danny Koevermans, Jordan Hamilton