First-round draft pick Luis Silva scored two quick goals and set up another as TFC won 5-1 over the University of South Florida. TFC is at the Walt Disney World complex as it prepares for next week’s preseason tournament in Orlando.
Silva gave the Reds a 2-0 lead by the 15-minute mark.
Joao Plata, who set up Silva’s second goal, scored one of his own. Nick Soolsma and Canadian midfielder Terry Dunfield also got on the scoresheet. Dunfield’s goal came off a pass from Silva.
But, in a season in which we have seen foreign players grab preseason headlines in Vancouver and Montreal, the key stats of the game might not have been the goals. No, the fact that TFC was able to use six Canadian players over the course of the game was the most encouraging stat of all.
Dunfield played the first 45 minutes, along with Doneil Henry at right back and reigning Canadian player of the year Ashtone Morgan at left back. In the second 45, TFC ran out Matt Stinson — who was on the preliminary list of U-23 Olympic team nomimees that the Canadian Soccer Association sent to CONCACAF — along with Julian de Guzman and Jordan Hamilton.
The teenage Hamilton is an academy prospect.
While the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps — and most of the other MLS teams — have been contesting exhibition matches in Mexico, California and Arizona, Toronto FC remained at home.
We’ll see how the strategy pays off — as TFC is putting a lot less wear and tear on itself in preseason than other MLS teams. In fact, TFC, out of the four Canadian pro teams, has been generating the least amount of headlines over the past three weeks — by a mile.
Because MLS preseason isn’t regulated by the league the way the NHL or NFL is, teams can really choose their own paths when it comes to how they prepare. Montreal chose to pack its schedule with games in Mexico and California. Vancouver has played in Arizona. Meanwhile, the Reds hung back, choosing to wait a couple of extra weeks before they put themselves in a game environment. And, since they don’t play again till next Saturday, it’s not like they are packing their schedule.