Toronto FC closed the Southern California portion of their preseason campaign on a positive note Saturday, defeating the LA Galaxy 3-2 in a 90 minute scrimmage.
Sebastian Giovinco scored two first half goals, including a cracker of a strike just before halftime, and Mo Babouli added the game winner in the 52nd minute. Robbie Keane and Robbie Rogers scored for the Galaxy.
Giovinco is picking up where he left off in 2015, scoring four goals in three preseason games. But it was the play of two youngsters that became the biggest story to emerge from the past 10 days.
Babouli and 2016 first round pick Tsubasa Endoh were standouts in Southern California, so much so that it’s possible both are on the first team roster when the Reds travel to Red Bull Arena for the season opener on March 6th.
“They definitely have a shot,” said head coach Greg Vanney following the match. “They’re two guys who have taken on the responsibilities we’ve given them for their positions. They’ve done so professionally in a way where they don’t look shy against the opponent regardless if it was the three teams we played before or today against the Galaxy.”
Veteran defender Drew Moor echoed his head coach’s sentiments.
“Endoh and Mo have been fantastic so far this preseason and really all the young guys,” said Moor.
“You can just tell they want to learn and they’re hungry to be involved. To be able to play with and learn from some of the players we have, to be in hotels with them and to be in meals with them. Some of these guys are ready to start games with the first team. Whether they do or not is not up to them, it’s up to the coaches, but it’s always good to have a deep squad. You saw today there’s plenty of guys on this team that can start when March 6th rolls around.”
The Reds will return to Toronto on Monday and remain there for a week before heading to Orlando for the final phase of the preseason. The week back home will help players that have been dealing with minor knocks get fit, including left back Justin Morrow who has been dealing with a sore hip.
“We’ve got to integrate some guys back in,” said Vanney. “Part of it is going to be recovery from this trip. It’s been a long one with a number of games. We have some guys with little knocks, nothing big. We’ve worked a lot on defending, and we have to keep tightening that up, but now we have to talk about attacking and how we want to do that moving forward.”
2' Sebastian Giovinco (assist: Daniel Lovitz)
4' Robbie Keane
41' Robbie Rogers
45' Sebastian Giovinco (assist: Wesley Charpie)
52' Mo Babouli
First Half Starting XI: Irwin; Lovitz, Moor, Perquis, Bloom; Osorio, Cheyrou, Delgado; Babouli, Giovinco, Endoh.
46' Charpie in for Bloom, Hagglund in for Perquis
57' Roberts in for Irwin
60' In: Zavaleta, Mannella, Taintor, Chapman, James, Uccello, Madison, Hamilton Out: Lovitz, Moor, Osorio, Cheyrou, Delgado; Babouli, Giovinco, Endoh.
Join MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco and the rest of Toronto FC at BMO Field this season. 2016 Toronto FC Season Seats are on sale from $608 and up. In addition to Toronto FC Season Tickets, the Reds are currently on sale with TFC II Season Seats at $75.00 for TFC Season Seat Holders & $120.00 for non-TFC season seat holders. For More information head to TorontoFC.ca/tickets