Oh how I missed you, preseason.
In proper training camp fashion, Toronto FC’s friendly against Club Tijuana in San Diego last night was equal parts entertaining and hilarious. The Reds came out on top 3-2 after a brace from Sebastian Giovinco and one from Marky Delgado.
The real winner here was mental health, of course. I promised before the game to give $10 to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health for every TFC goal, and er... let’s just say that didn’t quite go as planned.
I promised to donate $10 to @endstigma for every @torontofc goal last night. They scored 3, but apparently I can't read. That's $100 from this poor student for mental health. #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/OlhIPQxT2k— Charlie O’Connor-Clarke (@charliejclarke) February 1, 2018
Anyway, the match. TFC started with a very strong lineup, which I think was a 4-4-2 (Irwin; Morrow, Mavinga, Moor, Hasler; Delgado, Bradley, Vazquez, Osorio; Giovinco, Altidore).
Xolos scored pretty early, and right from the get-go we all figured we were in for a long night. Luckily, though, Sebastian Giovinco is apparently already in mid-season form in his first proper game:
He also scored an open play goal, which I don’t think he’s done since August.
TFC made wholesale changes around the 61st minute, bringing on a new eleven (Bono, Dunn, Kubel, Morgan, Hagglund, Chapman, Endoh, Fraser, Okello, Hamilton, Spencer).
Overall, it seemed like the Reds were really clicking, despite it being so early in preseason. They had plenty of other chances to score that just didn’t find the net, including more than a couple from Giovinco and Jozy Altidore.
This game also gave us an absolute classic moment. In the dying minutes, Alex Bono handled the ball outside the box, which got him sent off. Nick Hagglund stepped up to don the gloves, and it went... pretty well, actually.
It’s moments like that which make these friendlies worth watching. I guess now we know who to call on if Bono ever has to leave a real game.
TFC now have their first win over Mexican competition in 2018, and ideally it won’t be the last. Of course, Xolos weren’t playing all their usual starters, with a more important league game coming up on the weekend.
Tijuana are no slouch of a Liga MX club (not that one really exists). The three goals TFC scored on them are the only three Xolos have conceded in 2018, despite being four games into the Clausura season. Their style of play is definitely a good primer for the Reds heading into the Champions League.