Toronto FC opened their preseason docket with a 4-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday afternoon at UC Irvine in California.
With the match divided into two 60-minute halves, both sides trotted out largely first choice lineups for the opening hour before wholesale changes for the second portion.
Today’s friendly vs. @ColoradoRapids will be played over 120 minutes.— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) February 8, 2020
Our Starting XI:
Jozy Altidore pic.twitter.com/1sNolvezhI
Wholesale changes coming up.— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) February 8, 2020
Jacob Shaffelburg pic.twitter.com/1MtVnBqVsK
Gallardo opened the scoring in the 20th minute latching onto a through-ball from Alejandro Pozuelo and twisting up a defender before beating the goalkeeper with a right-footed effort. Altidore added the second in the 46th – a sharp, low shot to the bottom-corner after some neat passing on the edge of the area – and Osorio the third three minutes later – a quick strike as he continued into the area and received a return lay-off.
Come the second frame, Shaffelburg netted the fourth in the 67th minute with a rising rocket from range that found the top left corner of the Rapids goal.
Greg Vanney called their first outing of the season “a good day,” seeing progress on several of the objectives – match fitness and tactical development – he had in mind for the side.
“This is our first game, we pushed a lot of guys 60 minutes. Physically we felt it, but we maintained our focus, our concentration, and did a nice job,” said the coach post-match. “[We’ve been] working on some things tactically and the guys showed the ability to take those things on, but also in-game we adapted a little bit which is nice.”
“When you have a group that a lot of them came back from last year, our starting page is probably a little bit farther in the book than in the past, but we were able to adapt, created some good chances, and scored some goals,” he continued. “Preseason is preseason, but it's always nice when you put in a shift to come out and get a 4-0 win.”
“[It] reinforces the work that they're doing, the focus and the commitment that everybody's brought,” he added. “We want to keep building. There's a lot here still, details-wise, that we can work on, so we'll look at the video and we'll continue to build.”
Having seen the scene shift from Toronto to Florida and back before heading out to Los Angeles this week, TFC have taken a methodical approach to their preseason. The win over Colorado was the first a several games the team has lined up in California. Up next is a date with LAFC on Wednesday, February 12 at Banc of California Stadium.
“We haven't played a game over the course of 12 to 14 training days, which has really given us the time to work through a process to get ourselves set up, to get everybody connected,” explained Vanney. “That showed today. We haven't rushed into games. That helped us, but now we'll use this game as an assessment to continue to build.”
Not a bad way to kickoff the 2020 campaign, but there remains much work to be done.
“It's not perfect yet, it's still preseason, but a lot of ideas, the things that we want to try to accomplish, came out in spurts through the course of this,” observed Vanney. “The most important thing is the group was very connected and working hard for each other.”
“If one guy got caught in one position somebody would fill the role; the relationships on the field came on pretty quickly – these guys have played a lot of minutes together. It was good,” he added. “And the young guys came on and won their game 1-0, if you will.”
“Pleased with everyone's performance,” Vanney concluded. “It's one game, but it's an assessment and [gives us] the ability to look at some things and take another step forward as we play the next game.”