Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact met for the first time since last October on Wednesday afternoon in Clearwater, FL. The game ended in a 1-1 draw, with Dominic Oduro and Jordan Hamilton recording the goals.
Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Didier Drogba did not play in this game, but both sides fielded strong lineups consisting of players expected to register heavy workloads during the 2016 MLS campaign.
Montreal struck in the 22nd minute after Impact newcomer Harry Shipp was afforded heaps of space in front of the TFC box. The former Chicago Fire attacking midfielder found Oduro with an excellent pass and the veteran striker calmly beat Quillan Roberts for the game’s opening goal.
The Reds responded well to the setback, with Montreal finding it difficult to trudge forward for the rest of the night.
“I thought it was a good night,” said Greg Vanney following the match. “Defensively we were organized over the course of 90 minutes.”
Offensively it was a struggle for Toronto, perhaps not surprisingly considering the absences of Giovinco and Altidore.
“We probably could’ve created a bit more in terms of chances,” said Vanney. “It was the nature of the group we had out there, that we didn’t have guys that would be sprinting through lines.”
The second unit, however, found their footing in the latter stages of the second half and managed to maintain the majority of possession. Jay Chapman and Mo Babouli had strong games once again after impressing throughout the preseason. Jordan Hamilton, who came on for Darius Madison in the 74th minute, made an instant impact, recording the equalizer five minutes after his introduction to the match.
Following the match Vanney revealed Altidore was questionable for the season opener against the New York Red Bulls due to a hamstring injury.
While that isn’t the news TFC supporters want to hear with a new season on the horizon, the likes of Hamilton and Babouli now have a real chance to make the squad that will travel to New York in one week’s time.
TFC will play their final preseason match on Saturday afternoon against the Philadelphia Union. The starters in that match will be pushed for 90 minutes as a rehearsal for first kick on March 6. The game will be streamed live on torontofc.ca
22’ Dominic Oduro (Harry Shipp)
79’ Jordan Hamilton (Ashtone Morgan)
Toronto FC: Roberts; Morrow (Morgan 45’), Moor (Zavaleta 45’), Perquis (Williams 45’), Bloom (Hagglund 45’); Cheyrou (James 68’), Bradley (Mannella 45’), Johnson (Chapman 45’); Osorio (Lovitz 45’), Gomez (Madison 45’ Hamilton 74’), Endoh (Babouli 45’)
Montreal Impact: Kronberg; Toia, Cabrera, Ciman, Oyongo; Donadel, Alexander, Shipp; Venegas, Piatti, Oduro.