February 23rd, 2024

Bernardeschi, Insigne score as Toronto FC opens pre-season play against Nashville SC

By The Canadian Press on February 2, 2024.

Toronto FC forward Lorenzo Insigne (24) celebrates after defeating New York City FC in MLS soccer action in Toronto, on Saturday, April 29, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Lahodynskyj

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Italian stars Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne both scored Friday as Toronto FC opened its pre-season schedule against Nashville SC.

The matchup, at Palm Beach Gardens, was broken down into two-60 minute contests, with 30-minutes halves, so as not to push the players’ fitness at this stage of training camp.

Both sides made wholesale changes between games.

Toronto won the first game 2-0 thanks to the Italians. Ghana’s Forster Ajago, a former Duke University forward who signed with Nashville in December, scored as Nashville won the second game 1-0.

TFC treated the outing as two separate matches. Nashville called it a 2-1 pre-season loss.

Canadian internationals Lukas MacNaughton and Jacob Shaffelburg, both former TFC players, started for Nashville in the first match. Hany Mukhtar, the 2022 MLS MVP, was in a Nashville starting 11 that contained two trialists in the second game.

It was the third outing of the pre-season for Nashville, which previously beat St. Louis City FC and Sporting Kansas City by 2-1 scores.

Toronto, in its first training camp under former Canada coach John Herdman, was slated to return home after Friday’s match. The team flies to California on Feb. 8 for the second half of training camp with games in Santa Barbara scheduled the MLS champion Columbus Crew (Feb. 10), Real Salt Lake (Feb. 14) and Los Angeles FC (Feb. 17).

Nashville was also scheduled to return home after Friday’s contest to continue preparations for its Feb. 22 CONCACAF Champions Cup match against Moca FC in the Dominican Republic.

Toronto opens the regular season Feb. 25 at FC Cincinnati with its home opener two games later, March 9 against Charlotte FC.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2024

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