Behind four different goalscorers, Toronto FC beat Columbus Crew SC 4-2 on Thursday evening during a preseason scrimmage in Florida as both clubs prepare for Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 contests.
Columbus opened the scoring in the 18th minute through Pedro Santos and found a consolation goal in the 84th minute through winger Luis Diaz, and now will look ahead to their CCL slate. The defending MLS Cup champions open April 8 at Nicaraguan side Real Esteli FC before returning to Historic Crew Stadium on April 15 for the second leg.
“Preseason’s done and preseason always is what it is,” head coach Caleb Porter said. “You never win a trophy because of preseason or because of your record or your results there, so we’re excited to start the Champions League, we’re excited to start the regular season and once we can put the group together and gain that rhythm and continuity, I’m very confident that this group will have a very good start to the year and have a great season.”
Meanwhile, Toronto FC scored four unanswered goals across a 47-minute span to seal the victory. Their scoring outburst began in the 35th minute through star striker Jozy Altidore, then it continued in the second half with forward Patrick Mullins (59th minute), outside back Auro (64th minute) and homegrown forward Jordan Perruzza (82nd minute). Auro finished from the penalty-kick spot, while the other two capitalized on Crew SC backline errors.
Toronto FC starts their CCL campaign April 7 at Liga MX side Club Leon and then await a second leg April 14 in Kissimmee, Fla. Due to travel challenges around the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto plan to start the 2021 season in Florida.
All told, Armas feels Toronto FC are progressing nicely as they prepare for a rapidly approaching start. Armas is in his first year at the helm after last leading the New York Red Bulls.
“We're not totally there yet and not even full strength in spots, but man the guys committed in a big way to what we're asking,” Armas said. “We liked that opponent tonight, we were happy we got their best team, and I'm really proud of the effort tonight and execution.”
- 18’ – CLB – Pedro Santos
- 35’ – TOR – Jozy Altidore
- 59’ – TOR – Patrick Mullins
- 64’ – TOR – Auro
- 82’ – TOR – Jordan Perruzza
- 84’ – CLB – Luis Diaz
Columbus Crew SC: Evan Bush – Waylon Francis (Anthony Samways 64’), Josh Williams, Jonathan Mensah, Marlon Hairston (Noah Hall 79’) – Perry Kitchen, Darlington Nagbe, Lucas Zelarayan – Kevin Molino (Luis Diaz 57’), Gyasi Zardes, Pedro Santos
Toronto FC: No lineup information provided