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03/02/2014
 

Toronto FC fell 4-2 to Fluminense in their last game of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando. While the Reds leave Orlando having not won a single game, there is a lot of positives to take away from their time in Florida, and in particular their last game against Fluminense U23s.


Toronto FC came into Saturday's game hoping to generate some offense and get on the score board as they played the Philadelphia Union to a scoreless draw in their last outing. They fell behind early, but Michael Bradley equalized for Toronto with a terrific free kick that sailed into the top right hand corner. Fluminense U23 found another go ahead goal before Dwayne De Rosario scored his first of the preseason to make it 2-2 going into the half time break. Fluminense added two goals in the second half and would ultimately win the game 4-2.


It had been a tough tournament for Fluminense who came into this game finishing dead last in their group and having not scored a single goal. However, they were able to put four past Toronto FC backup goalkeeper Joe Bendik. 


Toronto's poor defensive play is definitely concerning, but fans will take comfort in the fact that first round draft pick Nick Hagglund didn't enter the game until the 70th minute and he has been a beast this preseason. Toronto FC's starting keeper was surprisingly left on the bench as well for this one.



 
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02/23/2014
 

Toronto FC met USL Pro side and future MLS team, Orlando City SC in their third preseason match of the year. While the starting lineup was significantly weaker than in the previous two matches, there was still a lot to take away from the game. 


Toronto led for the majority of the game with Kyle Bekker converting from the spot in the 13th minute. The home side would ultimately find an equalizer in the 88th minute, in a game where the goalkeepers were on full display. Toronto's backup goalkeeper Joe Bendik got the start over the club's newest signing Julio Cesar, and he proved that he will be more than capable of starting when Cesar is away on World Cup duty.


Toronto FC head coach, Ryan Nelsen, decided to go with a very different starting lineup than he did in the first two matches. Along with Cesar, Dwayne De Rosaio, Michael Bradley, and Gilberto, were also on the bench to start this one. Jermain Defoe has yet to arrive to the club and was not in the lineup at all in this one. 


Andrew Wiedeman got the start up top for the Reds and was able to create a couple of scoring opportunities, but the team would have loved to insert Bright Dike into the lineup as well. The Nigerian international was injured during training this week and has been ruled out for the season.


Michael Bradley and Alvaro Rey were brought in at halftime for Jeremy Hall and Jackson. Bradley continued to impress in MLS preseason action as he bossed the midfield and was Toronto FC's maestro once again. Nelsen would eventually bring on Dwayne De Rosario as well as the club's first round draft pick, Nick Hagglund. 


However, the star of the second half for Toronto was easily their keeper, Joe Bendik. He was tested throughout the second half as Orlando pressed to find the equalizer and he made several big saves. Two minutes before time though, the home side equalized. 


Austin Da Luz’s corner kick was whipped in to the back-post and trial player Mark Howard was there to head into the back of the net to secure the Lions a tie. While Bendik would give up the 88th minute equalizer, the goal was not his fault and his performance last night had to have impressed the entire TFC coaching staff. 


Orlando chief Adrian Heath was happy with the outcome:


“I thought that we were the better side after the first 15-20 minutes.


"On a different night, if we take half of our chances, then we would’ve won the game comfortably. Our passing was a bit sloppy in the first half, but I think we began dictating things as we got into a rhythm.


Toronto FC are now 1-1-1 in their preseason campaign and will kickoff for real on March 15 in Seattle. The team will play a couple more friendlies before their date with the Sounders, but the season is not far away now and the team know that they've got some big expectations this year.  


Scoring Summary:

TOR- Kyle Bekker (penalty) 13’

ORL- Mark Howard (Austin Da Luz) 87’

 

Lineups/Substitutions:

Orlando City SC- GK Miguel Gallardo (Carl Wosczcynski 46’), D Rob Valentino (Mason Trafford 46’), Bradford Rusin, Luke Boden (Joseph Toby 68’), Trial player (Jordan Cyrus trial player 46’), M Yordany Alvarez, Darwin Ceren, Kevin Molino, Austin Da Luz, Anthony Pulis (Dennis Chin 46’), Corey Hertzog

 

Toronto FC- GK Joe Bendik, D Gale Agbossoumonde, Steven Caldwell, Ryan Richter, Ashtone Morgan, M Jackson, Jeremy Hall, Kyle Bekker, Reggie Lambe, Manny Aparaicio, F Andrew Wiedeman

 

Penalty Summary:

ORL- Trial player No. 25 (Yellow Card) 13’

 
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02/08/2014
 
Although the club has yet to confirm it, the move of Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar to Toronto FC is more certain than death or taxes. Already reported by various reputable outlets, the 34-year-old keeper is set to join Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe at BMO Field for the 2014 MLS season.

The transaction between Toronto FC and Championship side Queens Park Rangers, confirmed by Julio Cesar himself, has many winners. However, there is one player that will lose due to the Brazilian's imminent arrival to MLS, as Toronto's current goalie will be deprived of his starting position between the three posts.

Joe Bendik will surely be sidelined in the upcoming season, but despite his starting XI spot being stolen from right under him, it's refreshing to report that the American goalkeeper reacted with immense class and also considers himself a victor. On his personal Twitter account, Bendik sent out the following statement about Julio Cesar's induction to the team:

 
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