Toronto FC lost their first two MLS preseason games in 2023, 3-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps and 2-1 to the Los Angeles FC. Coach Bradley started his first string XI in both games, giving us a preview of the new-look backline with Sean Johnson in goal behind Raoul Petretta, Matt Hedges, Sigurd Rosted and Richie Laryea. Only Laryea has kept his place in the side from last season.
In the midfield, Captain Michael Bradley was joined by Mark-Anthony Kaye and Victor Vazquez, while Italian star Lorenzo Insigne, Bernardeschi and Spanish striker Jesus Jimenez manned the front.
Bradley made huge changes for the second half of both matches, taking out many of the starters to give other players a run. It should be noted that a majority of the goals were scored in the second half of both games.
The lone goal scored by the Red thus fair in the preseason came off the boot of Victor Vazquez, who rocketed one in from outside the penalty box with a setup by Federico Bernardeschi against Los Angeles FC. Other than that, the team hasn’t had too much to brag about on the offensive end.
In the game against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Cristian Dajome scored twice in the second half and Javain Brown headed one home later in the piece. With all goals coming after the starters had been benched, the score doesn’t provide a true reflection of the team’s ability.
Toronto currently has 31 players in their camp including five members of TFC II, two trialists and defender Jalen Ellis-Watson, who came as a second-round pick in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft. Found below are a list of the players added and removed from the team from last season:
Players Added: Sigurd Rosted, Sean Johnson, Raoul Petretta,Hugo Mbongue, Tomas Romero, Victor Vazquez, Matt Hedges & Adama Diomande.
Players Removed: Luca Petrasso, Auro Jr, Domenico Criscito Alex Bono, Quentin Westberg, Doneil Henry, Noble Okello, Ifunanyachi Achara & Chris Mavinga.
It’s still too early to make a reasonable evaluation of the TFC team but things are looking up from last season. The starters seem to be gelling together and the defense, the biggest let down from last year, has been looking solid with the first XI. We’ll find out more in the upcoming preseason games against the Portland Timbers and LA Galaxy.
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