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Toronto FC wraps up pre-season with win over young Costa Rican side

02/28/2015 04:27 EST | Updated 04/30/2015 05:59 EDT
BRADENDON, Fla. - Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore scored their first goals for Toronto FC as the MLS club wrapped up its pre-season with a 2-1 win over the Costa Rican Under-23 national team Saturday at the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic.

Toronto finished fifth at the eight-team tournament with a 2-2-0 record and had scored just once coming into Saturday's finale. The competition was more about refining tactics and getting players used to each other than results, however.

"I thought it was a good performance," said Toronto manager Greg Vanney. "The goals were good goals, we had some real opportunities. Our collective defending got better as the first half progressed and then even into the second half.

"I thought the game was just going to die until we allowed one (goal) on a set piece and unfortunately that brought life back into the game ... Then it got a bit chippy as it does and we just wanted to get off the field with everybody (intact) by the end."

Vanney started what looked like his top 11 on a windy, grey 20 C day before a handful of spectators at the IMG Academy Stadium. Joe Bendik was in goal behind a back four of Justin Morrow, Damien Perquis, Steven Caldwell and Warren Creavalle. Captain Michael Bradley was flanked by Benoit Cheyrou and Jonathan Osorio in the middle with Altidore, Giovinco and Robbie Findley up front.

Cheyrou exited in the 35th minute, taking his boots off before heading straight to the dressing room. And Morrow was helped off in the second half after being cut down in a Costa Rican tackle that earned a yellow card.

Vanney said Cheyrou hurt a toe but would have kept playing if the game had mattered. Morrow aggravated an ankle injury from earlier in the pre-season but should be OK.

Vanney's team returns home Sunday to prepare for next weekend's MLS season opener in Vancouver against the Whitecaps. It's the first of eight straight road games due to ongoing renovations at Toronto's BMO Field.

Giovinco opened the scoring in the ninth minute after the Costa Ricans failed to clear a fine cross from Cheyrou. The ball dropped to Giovinco and he hammered a right-footed shot into the goal.

Costa Rican goalie Daniel Zamora stopped Giovinco's 27th-minute penalty when Perquis was dragged down on a corner.

Giovinco was the provider in the 63rd minute, feeding Altidore for a clinical volley to cap a nice passing play.

Ariel Lassiter, son of former MLS star Roy Lassiter, replied for the Costa Ricans in the 67th minute, taking advantage of some poor marking off a corner for a tap-in.

The Costa Ricans were coached by Paulo Wanchope, who played forward for Derby County, West Ham and Manchester City among other clubs.

The Philadelphia Union were slated to meet the New York Red Bulls in the championship game later Saturday. The third-place match pitted the Columbus Crew against the USL's Oklahoma City Energy FC.

The tournament also featured Denmark's HB Koge and London United, a team of players currently out of contract.

Toronto lost 1-0 to Oklahoma City Energy FC and beat HB Koge 1-0 on an Osorio goal before a largely reserve squad lost 2-0 to the Red Bulls.

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