Toronto FC remained undefeated in preseason yesterday, using a number of their first team starters to defeat Cal State Fullerton 4-0. This came after they drew University of California, Irvine 2-2 on Saturday in their first preseason match in 2016.
Sebastian Giovinco demonstrated his excitement to be back in red by opening the scoring 15 minutes into the first half. It was the much younger squad in the second half, however, who did most of the scoring as Canadians Luca Uccello, Molham Babouli and Jay Chapman all found the back of the net.
It's still early, and the opposition isn't professional yet, but it has been a good preseason for Toronto FC's domestic players so far. Jordan Hamilton scored against University of California, Irvine meaning four of the club's six preseason goals have come from Canadian players.
Tsubasa Endoh has also made a strong impression early after being drafted ninth overall. After scoring the club's first goal of the preseason last match, he was given a place in Toronto's starting lineup against Cal State.
The lineup that Toronto used for the first half will likely be close to what they roll out for their season opener on March 6, keeping in mind Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Will Johnson are on international duty. Offseason acquisitions Clint Irwin, Steven Beitshour and Drew Moor all played as the club begins the process of rebuilding its backline. The backline was rounded out by Ashtone Morgan at left back and Damien Perquis in the middle.
While, again, the competition is nothing to write home about it is good to see the new backline get a clean sheet in their first outing. They will need plenty more where that came from if they are to hit the club's goal of at most 45 goals conceded next season, down from the 58 they allowed in 2015.
While missing Altidore and Bradley, Toronto would go with a midfield three of Marky Delgado, Benoit Cheyrou and Jonathan Osorio. Meanwhile Herculez Gomez, Giovinco and Endoh would play up top.
It was the second half, however, where a young Toronto FC lineup did most of the scoring. All of Toronto's 2016 draft picks selected after the first round would feature: Mitchell Taintor and Brian James in the midfield while Darius Madison would be up top.
Rounding out the lineup was Quillan Roberts in goal in front of a backline of Mark Bloom, Eriq Zavaleta, Josh Williams and Daniel Lovitz. The midfield three was composed of Taintor, James and Chapman while Uccello, Babouli and Madison started up top.
Toronto played a 4-3-3 throughout the match, and one has to wonder if this will be a more common formation for the team going forward. While wingers are in short supply in Toronto, Gomez and Giovinco can both play wide while Endoh and Lovitz add depth.
The club's next preseason game will be their first against professional opposition, as they meet Ventura County Fusion. That game will take place on Wednesday night.