If Toronto FC are able to grab a win to start their 2016 MLS season on March 6, it will be their first win in exactly a month. After a strong start to preseason Toronto FC struggled in their second leg spent in Florida, going winless in four matches and one scrimmage.
While results certainly aren't the point of preseason, it still is concerning, especially the lack of offense that the team has had of late. They scored only 3 goals in 5 games in Florida, and exit preseason with a record of 3-3-3. They were 1-2-2 against MLS opposition.
This afternoon in their final preseason game they fell 1-0 to the Philadelphia Union. C.J. Sapong scored the lone goal of the match after outpacing Toronto's defence in the second half.
Toronto had several chances, including Sebastian Giovinco hitting the post late in the second half, but were unable to find the back of the net. Jonathan Osorio also had a good chance early after a brilliant pass from youngster Tsubasa Endoh.
Clint Irwin likely had the highlight of the match for Toronto FC, making an unbelievable save to keep the match level in the first half. Irwin has had a good preseason as he tries to take over a position where Toronto struggled last season.
He played the entire match in net after being rested against the Montreal Impact earlier this week. In front of him likely three-quarters of what will be the opening day backline with Mark Bloom, Damien Perquis, Drew Moor and Justin Morrow. Steven Beitashour is expected to be ready by the time the season rolls around, and should be the club's starting right back over Bloom.
Josh Williams and Ashtone Morgan would also get minutes in defence, replacing Perquis and Morrow respectively. Hagglund would come on for Bloom late in the match, while Moor would play the entire match.
Toronto would start the match with a midfield three of Will Johnson, Michael Bradley and Benoit Cheyrou, but Cheyrou would be replaced at half by Mo Babouli. That would lead to Osorio being moved back into the midfield. Up front Toronto would start Osorio and Endoh on the wing with Giovinco in the middle.
It was announced earlier today that Endoh had been signed to a senior team contract with Toronto FC after a solid preseason. Toronto's first round draft pick this year could even be in the starting lineup for opening day as it is clear Greg Vanney rates him highly.
This was also a last chance for Babouli to earn his own senior contract, the Canadian played well and is expected to be signed at some point soon now that Luke Moore's departure has opened up a roster spot. Other moves will need to be made in the next few days to make the team cap complaint.
The club will return to Toronto tomorrow, where they will start preparing for their season opener. They will then go on the road for most of the next two months before BMO Field's renovations are completed.