MEXICO CITY – Toronto FC finished off their preseason circuit with a convincing 4-1 win over Liga MX side Cruz Azul on Tuesday afternoon. The Reds used braces from Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco to best the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League winners. The friendly match also saw the debut of Brazilian youth international Auro Alvaro da Cruz Junior, who signed with TFC on Tuesday morning.
Speaking with TorontoFC.ca, head coach Greg Vanney gave his thoughts on the match.
On the team’s final preseason performance:
“It was a good day. We wanted to finish preseason on a high note, tie some things together that we’ve been working on over the last few days and I think we did that. We went up against some good opposition; they pressed us, put us under pressure, made the game fast, but we showed a nice composure to be able to play through them and create chances. I’m pleased with where we are. Physically, we looked a lot better as the match wore on.”
On Giovinco’s third free kick goal of preseason:
“It’s obviously a great weapon for us. We want to be able to be dangerous in the run of play, but also on these set pieces. He’s got an incredible ability to hit different shots in different ways; the one he hit today was different than the last two he scored. He’s been so diligent to continue to work on them during preseason, hitting some free kicks on his own at the end of training, so he’s quite sharp.”
On Auro’s debut for Toronto FC:
“He was excellent; he played about 65 minutes. He’s only been with us for a few days, but he fit in seamlessly. He’s good in possession, good at getting up and down; a smart player. It was nice to get him into the group. He’s capable of playing anywhere on the right side, as a winger, a wingback, a right back. His debut was a good one.
On his fitness level ahead of the new season:
“Today he got through 60 minutes at 7,000 feet without a whole lot of struggle. He’s an efficient player, smart about his positioning and his choices. He’s been training so he arrived in good form and fitness. Now he’s just getting accustomed to the altitude which is not easy for anyone, but he’s done a good job over the last few days.”
On the team’s preparedness for the CONCACAF Champions League following preseason training:
“We feel good. It’s been a good preseason, we’ve played a fair number of games and gotten much more tactical in the last few days. We started our preparations for Colorado, being a little more specific with how we want to approach that series; we’re comfortable with where we’re at right now.
“I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we’re looking forward to some competitive matches. Nobody loves preseason, so everyone’s ready to get to some games that are meaningful and purposeful. We know that the beginning of the season will be about working through some little things, but we’re in a good position.”
TORONTO FC – Alex Bono; Auro Alvaro da Cruz Junior (Tim Kubel), Drew Moor (Eriq Zavaleta), Nick Hagglund (Julian Dunn), Justin Morrow (Ashtone Morgan); Michael Bradley (Noble Okello), Marky Delgado (Nicolas Hasler), Jonathan Osorio, Victor Vazquez (Jay Chapman); Jozy Altidore (Jordan Hamilton), Sebastian Giovinco (Ben Spencer)