Toronto FC played their first preseason match of the season on Friday morning against Nashville SC in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
The 120-minute exercise was split into two 60-matches, each of two 30-minute halves. TFC took the first session by a 2-0 scoreline with Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne finding the back of the net.
“From a fitness perspective, all the players were able to do 60 minutes well in this heat and it was a real good test for them,” said head coach John Herdman post-match. “Nashville are a physical team, who are fit and coming into their third preseason match.”
“First half we had a strong lineup with Fede, Lorenzo, [Jonathan] Osorio in that lineup. The guys were able to keep a clean-sheet and score two goals,” he continued. “That's important for their confidence. To keep clean-sheets, that's a big starting point."
"Some of the quality was there for a preseason game, there was good chemistry, a lot of good movement, a lot of good opportunities as well.”
Bernardeschi’s strike, a low shot from the right that banked in off the far-post was set up by Insigne, while Deandre Kerr provided the layoff into the path of Insigne on his.
Nashville won the second portion 1-0.
“Second half we changed things up to give a lot of opportunities to players and really continue with the assessment piece,” Herdman detailed. “I was really happy with the players. We had a system change, we conceded one goal, but we had at least three or four good chances to equalize or even win the game.”
The club will return home from Florida following the match and spend most of next week training in Toronto before moving on to Santa Barbara, California for phase two of preseason on Thursday.
“All in all, as a preseason exercise, a good start, back to winning ways in one of the periods,” said Herdman.
“The guys will be going home after this first phase ready to be with their families, but with a smile on their face.”