CHAMPIONSGATE, Fla. — Minnesota United FC’s undefeated preseason/draw streak/Fibonacci sequence all washed away Wednesday in a rainy 3-0 loss to Toronto FC at Sports Complex at Omni Orlando.
Italian forward Sebastian Giovinco of the Major League Soccer Cup runnerup scored twice in the first half, in the 17th and 23rd minute. Forward Jordan Hamilton added a third goal in the second half.
Giovinco was a MLS Best XI selection last season and 2015’s MVP. He is one of Toronto’s designated players, along with U.S. men’s national team stars Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley, and all of them started the game.
“We’re playing against a really good team that’s got five or six quality players. They were in the final last year,” United coach Adrian Heath said. “So we’re talking about, probably, I would think, one of the strongest in depth, and the team with the best individuals in Major League Soccer. So today, it was a little bit of an eye-opener for us, in terms of the quality of the opposition at the top end of the MLS.”
Heath added that his team contributed to its own downfall on Giovinco’s goals – despite the finish on the first one being “world-class” – by giving away in dangerous areas. Center-back Vadim Demidov and winger Miguel Ibarra couldn’t connect a pass on the first one, and right-back Jermaine Taylor gave away the ball on the second.
“If you turn the ball over cheaply, and the ball drops at Giovinco’s feet, it invariably ends up at the back of the net,” Heath said. “We presented the opposition with too many opportunities in our half of the field.
“I know it was really difficult conditions and everything, and we were playing a really good team. But bottom line is, if you continue to give it away in poor areas, which we did today [it won’t end well].”
In their four previous MLS games, all draws, the Loons tallied one goal against New England, one against Vancouver, upped it to two against Portland, then scored three against Real Salt Lake. Keeping their Fibonacci-like series going — each number represents the sum of the previous two — would have meant scoring five goals against Toronto.
United fielded John Alvbage in goal; Justin Davis, Francisco Calvo, Demidov and Taylor on defense; Collen Warner, Mo Saeid and Rasmus Schuller in the midfield; Ibarra and Johan Venegas on the wings with Christian Ramirez up top. Kevin Venegas was the only substitute, on for Taylor the whole second half.
Heath said this was “maybe” his potential opening day starting lineup, minus midfielder Kevin Molino, who missed the game because of an illness. He said coaches are still figuring out one or two things.
-Defender Tiago Calvano, midfielder Eugene Starikov and defender Alvin Jones had been on trial with the team but did not join the Loons in Florida. Trialists goalkeeper Marco Carducci and midfielder Raul Gonzalez are still with the team.
-Midfielder Bernardo Anor also is not with United in Florida, still recovering from a hamstring injury endured in Arizona at the end of January.
-Midfielder Bashkim Kadrii was also unavailable as he is handling his visa details back in Denmark, same as Alvbage did last week in Sweden.
-Heath said it was “unlikely” new signing defender Jerome Thiesson would be available for the team by the season opener at Portland on March 3.