Home sweet home, but for six days only. Toronto FC returned from Los Angeles on Monday for a brief stay in Toronto before travelling to Orlando on Sunday for the final phase of preseason.
The week at home was spent reintegrating players that picked up knocks in Southern California back into the squad while preparing for MLS competition in Florida. TFC will take on the Montreal Impact and Philadelphia Union in the Rowdies Suncoast Invitational. The club also hopes to play one more MLS team during their two-week stay in Orlando.
A preseason win pales in comparison to taking three point from a regular season game, but building a winning mentality is a key goal for the coaching staff and players in Florida. That includes beating the competition, whether they be college clubs or MLS teams.
“We want to go and win our games,” stated centre-back Drew Moor following training on Friday. “It’s a long season, it’s a grind. Even the Orlando trip is going to be grind with four games there against very good opponents. Winning has to be a habit here. It’s got to be what we’re working towards, whether it be a preseason game or a 5 v 2 session.”
Building on the defensive shape and structure remains a central goal for the club moving forward. Midfielder Jonathan Osorio believes the Reds have plenty to be happy about following their 12-day stay in Southern California, especially after beating the LA Galaxy 3-2 in an entertaining scrimmage at the StubHub Center.
“The whole team is gelling together,” said Osorio. “The LA game is the one we should pay the most attention to. They’re a team in our league and we played them very well.”
“Every game has to be won,” Osorio continued. “It doesn’t matter if it’s an exhibition game against whoever or in an intrasquad game. That’s the mentality we want in this team.
The team has started to work on the offensive aspect of the game in Toronto, but much like camp in Southern California, the focus will be on the defensive end in Orlando. Greg Vanney and his coaching staff are also inserting Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Will Johnson into the mix after the trio spent January with their respective national teams.
“We’re continuing to build on the things we did in Irvine,” said assistant head coach Robin Fraser. “We’re really working on our team defending and incorporating Jozy, Michael and Will.”
“For us, yes we certainly have team objectives we want to achieve [in Orlando]. But at the end of the day winning is really the ultimate objective. Training ourselves to win games and be consistent winners is important.”
The Reds will travel to Orlando on Sunday morning. Follow the club on twitter and on torontofc.ca for updates from Florida over the next two weeks.