Toronto FC kicked off its pre-season with a dynamic showcase featuring Italian talents Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne. The friendly against Nashville SC, held in Palm Beach Gardens, unfolded in two 60-minute segments, allowing for a measured approach to player fitness during this early stage of training camp.
In the initial match, TFC's senior players dominated, securing a 2-0 victory with goals from Bernardeschi and Insigne. The roster underwent significant changes for the second game, where Nashville's Forster Ajago, a recent signing from Duke University, netted the decisive goal in a 1-0 win.
Coach John Herdman treated each segment as a separate game, emphasizing the fitness challenge in the Florida heat. Despite Nashville labeling it a 2-1 pre-season loss, Herdman saw positive aspects in both games.
"The first half we had a strong lineup with Fede and Lorenzo, Oso (Jonathan Osorio), and the guys were able to keep a clean sheet and score two goals ... Some of the quality was there. For a pre-season game there was good chemistry, a lot of good movement, a lot of good opportunities as well," said Herdman.
Expressing satisfaction with the second-game lineup, Herdman noted, "We conceded one goal, but we had at least three or four good chances to equalize or even win the game. So all in all as a pre-season exercise, a good start. Back to winning ways — in one of the periods." Toronto FC's promising start hints at a competitive pre-season ahead.
Coach Herdman's strategic rotation showcased the team's depth, offering promising glimpses of chemistry and goal-scoring prowess. With a resilient second-game lineup, Toronto FC looks poised for a competitive and successful pre-season campaign.