Toronto FC played the first of their Mexican friendlies this afternoon, falling 6-3 to Liga MX side Club America in the capital. There was no stream, so I don’t really know how things went, but we have scores, lineups, and quotes from Greg Vanney — enough for a baseless analysis, right?
TFC’s lineup was very strong, setting up in a 4-4-2 as far as I can tell (Bono; van der Wiel, Moor, Mavinga, Morrow; Delgado, Bradley, Vazquez, Osorio; Altidore, Giovinco). Nick Hagglund, Noble Okello, Jay Chapman, Tsubasa Endoh and Jordan Hamilton all made sub appearances.
In good news, TFC started the game extremely well. Jozy Altidore scored a brace, and Sebastian Giovinco did what Sebastian Giovinco does:
I’d like to point out that this goal is absolutely hilarious. I’m not sure what my favourite part is:
- Chris Mavinga yelling at somebody (maybe Gregory van der Wiel over on the right) to get them into position.
- Jozy chatting it up with the America keeper before proceeding to stand directly in front of him and sticking his arms out.
- Three different Club America defenders just standing directly on the goal line.
- Jonathan Osorio barely even watching because he knows it’s going in.
- The keeper struggling to pick up the ball, then just hammering it away for some reason.
Anyway, that was awesome. I think that’s Seba’s second free kick goal of this preseason, which is excellent news.
It sounds like TFC got pretty tired out playing a full 90 at Mexico City’s altitude. It’s definitely a good indicator of fitness to see Seba, Bradley, van der Wiel, Moor and Morrow all play the full game.
America managed to pull well ahead later in the game, after bringing on some subs that were far more accustomed to the altitude than TFC’s.
Vanney had some interesting things to say about the altitude, as well (all GV quotes from torontofc.ca, by the way):
“Now we get to experience 90 minutes at altitude, and this is even higher than Colorado. Now you start to understand what the effects will be, how you’ll feel, and what you need to do work through it. We’ll be fitter in two weeks than we are now and we’ll have gone through the process which is important.”
As for van der Wiel’s debut in a Toronto FC shirt:
“He looked very comfortable within the group and showed that he’s a very good player on both sides of the ball. He had some great attacking moves and covered well defensively; he’s a high-level player. He pushed through 90 minutes, which I know wasn’t easy, but he did a good job getting through and being solid. I’m pleased with where he is physically, now it’s about getting used to his teammates, but we’re very happy with his first outing.”
In general, sounds like this was a pretty positive outing despite the loss. The Reds showed they can compete with a very strong Mexican side, especially at the start of the game. And now they’ve seen what the thin mountain air does to them, so they should be well able for it in Colorado on February 20.
TFC have three friendlies left on their Mexican tour, including games against Pachuca and Cruz Azul. Hopefully they win, obviously, but more important is continuing to scope out the Mexican style of play and adapting to the challenges of playing at altitude.