Toronto FC's Coach John Herdman reflects on 2024 preseason: Positivity despite defeat

United States v Canada: Quarterfinals - 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup
United States v Canada: Quarterfinals - 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Toronto FC wrapped up their preseason with a tightly contested 1-0 loss to LAFC, but Head Coach John Herdman remains optimistic about the team's trajectory.

Following a goalless first half, LAFC managed to secure the lead in the 63rd minute with a fortuitous deflection off Aimé Mabika's knee from a Denis Bouanga delivery.

Lessons learned from preseason defeat

Despite the defeat, Herdman commended his team's performance post-match, emphasizing the positive aspects of their play. He highlighted the effort and tactical cohesion exhibited by the players, acknowledging that the result may not always accurately reflect the overall performance on the field.

Herdman also pointed out the near misses by Federico Bernardeschi, who struck the crossbar twice during the match, "Seeing Fede come close, hitting the bar twice, and conceding a bit of a cheap own-goal," he lamented the conceded goal, attributing it to a stroke of misfortune rather than a defensive lapse.

Looking back at the preseason, Herdman drew parallels between this match and previous encounters against Columbus, Real Salt Lake, and Nashville, noting the consistent cohesive gameplay but acknowledging the need for more clinical finishing in front of goal.

Despite resting the starting lineup in the midweek fixture against Real Salt Lake to preserve their fitness, Herdman pushed his players to their limits in this 90-minute outing, aiming to fine-tune the team's readiness for the upcoming season opener.

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As Toronto FC prepares for the start of the season next week, Herdman remains upbeat, emphasizing the importance of converting chances into goals while expressing confidence in the team's overall performance and cohesion. Despite the loss to LAFC, Herdman sees it as another step towards readiness for the challenges that lie ahead.