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Vissel Kobe vs. Toronto FC | 2019 MLS Preseason Match Preview

UPDATE: The scheduled match between Toronto FC and Vissel Kobe was cancelled just hours before the match due to flash flooding:

2019 MLS Preseason presented by Advocare
Vissel Kobe vs. Toronto FC
Championship Soccer Stadium at OC Great Park - Irvine, Calif.
Sarturday, Feb. 2 — 10:30 pm ET
Buy tickets - No stream or TV available

While part of Toronto FC's squad faces the Las Vegas Lights in Nevada earlier Saturday, the other takes on star-studded Vissel Kobe of the J League.

Vissel Kobe

The Japanese side finished in 10th place in the recently concluded J1 League season (12W-13L-9D) and they feature the likes of international stars Andres Iniesta, Lukas Podolski and former MLS star David Villa, who recently captained New York City FC.

They've found tough sledding in two previous preseason games against MLS opposition, however, playing to a 0-0 draw against Columbus Crew SC and a 4-1 defeat at the hands of LAFC.

Toronto FC


Toronto has been home to me and my family for almost 5 years. I arrived here from Italy in January 2015 and immediately felt something special. From day one, I worked hard to repay the opportunity that Toronto had given me. From that first year, I realized that we could do great things here. Through hard work, passion and determination my teammates and I transformed TFC and made it one of the best clubs in MLS and in North America. We didn’t do this alone. Without our great fans this would not have been possible. I can confidently say that I significantly contributed in making unprecedented history at TFC. We wrote a new chapter in the club’s history, together. All for One. This journey has been a wonderful experience for my family and me. It’s without hesitation that I can say that I wanted it to end differently. As I have always maintained, I was hoping to renew my contract and finish my playing career in a city that feels like home. It is here where my daughter was born and where my son took his first steps on a football pitch. A place my family loves to live and wanted to call home for good. Unfortunately, this desire of ours has clashed with a change in direction with current TFC management. For the 2 years I have been seeking to extend my contract however management was reluctant. Recently, after refusing to exercise the club option for 2020, I was offered terms that I deemed unacceptable. They may say I left for a more lucrative deal, but this is not the case. Their offer and lack of transparency is a clear message. It seems management prefers to focus on things other than the pure desire to win. After having grown the brand and elevating the overall reputation of TFC both at home and abroad, it seems I no longer serve a purpose. I would have accepted less to stay in Toronto. Therefore, I reluctantly announce that my tenure as a TFC player has come to an end. I will now focus my attention and efforts towards another challenge. With me I bring beautiful memories. Toronto - the 6ix - you are and will always remain in my heart. Thank you for everything you have taught me about myself and about life. I love you Toronto! Seba

A post shared by Sebastian Giovinco (@sebagiovincoofficial) on

Saturday's games will be the first competitive action for TFC since the stunning sale of Italian talisman Sebastian Giovinco to Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal FC.

Giovinco had expressed frustration in not knowing his future as camp opened, and now with the former Juventus man gone, TFC fans are understandably eager to learn who the club will bring in to replace the former MLS MVP and MLS Cup winner.

While it's unreasonable to take any major insights from split-quad action, Saturday's action could draw more focus than the typical early-February encounter.

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