Sebastian Giovinco scored a first-half brace and almost all of Toronto FC’s first-team regulars featured on Wednesday in a 3-0 pre-season win over Minnesota United. The Reds fielded a strong team in the penultimate game of their pre-season trip to Orlando, with eight potential starters taking the field in the first XI:
Today’s Starting XI: Bono; Brunell, Moor, Mavinga; Alseth, Bradley, Osorio, Cooper, Morrow; Altidore, Giovinco#TFCLive— Toronto FC (@torontofc) February 22, 2017
According to Twitter, most other first-team players came on in the second half (Nick Hagglund, Eriq Zavaleta, and Steven Beitashour among them), with Victor Vazquez briefly making his first appearance in a TFC kit.
Unfortunately, TFC’s live stream of the game was a disaster (partly due to the miserable weather), with most of the second half blacked out, so we don’t know much about Vazquez’s debut other than the fact that he was subbed off again shortly after. Having just arrived, the short appearance seems to have been a quick trial run for him to stretch his legs; nothing suggests there’s anything to be worried about.
Anyway, let’s get down to what we do know about this game.
First and foremost, Sebastian Giovinco continued to be Sebastian Giovinco. He scored a pair of beautiful goals against MLS-level competition and dominated the play.
Seba’s first goal was a left-footed screamer from the edge of the box:
The second, from a great cross from Justin Morrow:
Jordan Hamilton also scored early in the second half to seal the result:
(The rain cleared up but the live stream didn’t.)
Ultimately, TFC weren’t particularly troubled in this match. Minnesota offered very little going forward, and anything they did manage to generate was quickly shut down by the back three of Drew Moor, Chris Mavinga and Johan Brunell (on trial as a centre-back).
While the stream held up, we got a decent glimpse of Mavinga’s play on the camera’s side of the pitch. He looked to be quite strong on the ball and made some excellent passes down the wing despite the rain. He linked up very well with Morrow, who played more like a midfielder than a defender without much pressure from Minnesota.
Morrow’s fellow wing-back, third-round pick Oyvind Alseth, seemed fairly composed over on his side of the field, playing well in connection with Michael Bradley. Due to the camera angle, he was a little hard to spot at times in his first-half appearance but there were no glaring defensive errors or anything of that nature.
In goal, Alex Bono was not challenged often and held on to the clean sheet. Minnesota had a few corners and chances near the box, but Bono handled what was actually visible to those watching cleanly.
Clement Simonin also made another appearance, coming in to start the second half (so, unfortunately, we have no idea how he played). The same goes for Raheem Edwards and Ben Spencer. Both trialist Aikim Andrews and 2016 draft pick Brian James came in late in the second half as well.