Toronto FC concluded the California leg of preseason with a 2-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton today at UC Irvine. The Reds leave the Golden State with a record of 2-1-0.
TFC opened the match moving the ball around well in an effort to open up CSF. Ten minutes in Toronto had the first opportunity of the match when Sebastian Giovinco’s shot was blocked and cleared by the CSF defence. Five minutes later the Atomic Ant opened the scoring for Toronto. Ben Spencer received the ball in the attacking half from Nick Hagglund and played a beautiful ball down the flank to Justin Morrow whose cross found Giovinco for the goal. Toronto continued to apply pressure as half-time approached with Giovinco and Marky Delgado both narrowly missing chances to conclude the first half.
Giovinco continued his attack on goal with another near miss over the bar just minutes into the second half. CSF would draw level just minutes later thanks to a converted penalty kick in the 55 minute after Alex Bono’s challenge was ruled a foul. Toronto pressed towards goal looking to reclaim the lead. Giovinco’s free kick curled past the defence but smacked off the post to keep things tied at one. Toronto made a series of changes in the 65 minute and the substitutes immediately picked up where the starters left off. Tosaint Ricketts, Mo Babouli and Aikim Andrews all combined for chances that were saved including Ricketts’ opportunity that was cleared off the line in the 82 minute. Lars Eckenrode’s header from a corner just hit off the bar in the 89 minute and with that time expired on the second half with things still locked at 1-1. CSF went ahead in the final thirty minutes of play; Toronto worked hard to find an equalizer but came up just short in the extra half, ending the match 2-1.
For head coach Greg Vanney the time in California has been a success and an important building block for the preseason, “It’s really an assessment period while we try to get fit and get some tactical things in order. From that standpoint it was successful and there were some good moments and some things that we need to clean up.” Vanney also added his thoughts on the current roster at the conclusion of the California leg of preseason, “I think there is a pretty clear line between who in our group will be ready to stay with us and continue forward for the rest of preseason and there will be guys we start to push in different directions whether that be Toronto FC II or otherwise and that’s the value of this stretch.”
Toronto FC will fly home on Monday and spend a week in Toronto before taking off for Orlando, Florida for the final leg of preseason on Monday, February 13.
Bono, Mavinga (Morgan 39’), Moor, Hagglund, Beitashour, Morrow, Delgado, Osorio, Cooper, Spencer, Giovinco
Second Half Substitutions all in the 65th minute:
Irwin, Saavedra, Taintor, Eckenrode, McCrary, Morgan (Edwards), Fraser, Babouli, Chapman, Andrews, Ricketts