TORONTO, Canada—Toronto FC are undefeated in the Chris Armas era!
The Reds picked up their second win of the young preseason Thursday evening, defeating the defending MLS Cup Champions Columbus Crew SC 4-2 down in Florida.
After Columbus opened the scoring early, Jozy Altidore would respond for Toronto in the 35th minute, netting his first goal of the preseason—a ‘stringing shot’ that found the bottom corner of the goal.
In what was a down year, Altidore scored just two times in 14 appearances, so it’s great to see the striker get off the mark in preseason.
The Reds would grab another in the 59th minute on Patrick Mullins’ second of preseason. The 29-year-old striker—who TFC head coach Armas mentioned was ‘the most settled’ in his entire career—got on the end of a great Jacob Shaffelburg cross to provide the finish and give Toronto the lead.
59’ | GOAL Patrick Mullins ⚽️— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) April 2, 2021
A quick free kick sets up a tap-in at the far post pic.twitter.com/ElDYwG6ES4
Shortly after, it would be Auro Jr. stepping up to the penalty spot—wait what?
That’s right, it was the Brazilian fullback, not Pozuelo, taking the PK for the Reds, as he calmly slotted home to give Toronto a two-goal lead.
64’ | GOAL Auro Jr. ⚽️— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) April 2, 2021
The Brazilian keeps his cool from the spot to make it 3-1 pic.twitter.com/VCJQe9KMO7
For what it’s worth, Auro is still looking for his first in a Toronto FC kit since arriving in 2018.
And then, it was time for a young gun to get in on the action, and we’ve been saying: don’t sleep on Jordan Perruzza!
The 20-year-old Homegrown striker, who was Toronto FC’s only addition of the offseason to date, pounced on a Crew mistake before ‘expertly curling’ one into the far post, to give the Reds a 4-1 lead.
Prior to Thursday’s match, Armas offered high praise when asked about Perruzza.
“In terms of Jordan Perruzza, he’s a 9. He’s a 9,” said Armas. “I had the privilege of playing with Ante Razov, a guy that’s maybe one of the greatest strikers in the league of all-time, just a real presence and understanding of how to score goals and sniff out plays and understand where to be, when to arrive, how to play inbetween spaces, and Jordan has some good signs of that. It’s nice to see everyday Patrick Mullins and Jozy Altidore mentoring him and Jordan’s open to it. He’s a very confident player, he believes he score, he believes he should be out there, and 9s—true strikers—think like that. So he has shown that, his movements are pretty good. It’s a relatively small sample size, but he’s making some noise up there. He’s off to a good start.”
When all was said and done, the match would finish 4-2, as the Reds enter their April 7 CCL match vs. Club Leon on a high note.
The win was Toronto FC’s second of the preseason as they beat Inter Miami CF’s USL side, Fort Lauderdale CF, on Saturday by a score of 3-0.
The goalscorers on that day were Mullins, Pozuelo, ... and Michael Bradley! We’ve discussed in the past how Bradley is expected to be more involved offensively this season, so it was great to see him get in on the action, even though both sides agreed that the friendly would be more of a training session than anything.
As mentioned, that was Toronto FC’s last preseason tuneup before travelling to Mexico early next week. We wouldn’t read too much into preseason results, but it is nice to see them get off on the right foot.
Neither of their matches have been broadcasted or streamed. While COVID and league protocols come into play here, the team is also trying to keep game tape and lineups in-house, in order to give them the edge over Club Leon, who like us, have yet to see what this team looks like under their new head coach.