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Toronto FC put out the Chicago Fire offense Saturday afternoon in an MLS pre-season game at St. David’s Performance Center in Austin, Texas.

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Newly signed striker Jesus Jimenez scored in the 55th minute for the Reds inside the box on a fine half-turn shot, set up by Alejandro Pozuelo, the only goal in a 1-0 win. The win took TFC’s pre-season record to 3-1.

The Reds dominated most of the match in difficult first-half conditions, which included high winds and hail. The game was halted in the 30th minute for about half an hour when lightning appeared in the sky over Austin.

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TFC keeper Alex Bono made two good saves in a row in added time in the first half, with the third attempt coming from the post.

Second-half TFC keeper Greg Ranjitsingh, a newly-signed Scarborough native, made a leg save on a Jhon Duran breakaway in the second half to preserve the clean sheet. Minutes later, Ranjitsingh made a second save on the explosive Duran. In fact, Ranjitsingh made at least three saves on shots from the Colombian.

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Toronto’s next preseason game is Wednesday afternoon in Austin against the Houston Dynamo. The Reds open the MLS regular season on February 26 at FC Dallas.

THE RED ARE LOOKING FOR MORE SERIES A TALENT

As Italian sports website Calciomercato.com report, the TFC are in talks with Italy centre-forward Mattia Destro, whose contract expires with Genoa at the end of this season. Destro, 30, has scored eight goals in 16 Serie A appearances this season.

It has also been reported that the Reds are also watching Genoa defender Domenico Criscito closely.

Earlier this off-season, TFC signed Napoli striker Lorenzo Insigne on an MLS-record four-year deal. Insigne will join the Reds on July 1.

Last week, TFC chairman Bill Manning told the Toronto Sun he was traveling to Italy this month.

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ARENA CONFIRMS THE ACQUISITION OF ALTIDORE?

New England Revolution head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena all but confirmed on Friday that Jozy Altidore would soon join the defending champions Supporters’ Shield.

On Friday morning, Altidore said goodbye to Toronto and TFC fans on Instagram. Later that day, in an interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Arena sounded confident a deal would be announced.

“It sure sounds like that, doesn’t it?” I think it’s going to happen, so we’re happy to have Jozy,” Arena said. “He’s going to need some time to prepare. He was a very good player in Major League Soccer, both overseas and with the US national team. So we hope to be able to bring it up to date within the next month. But he will be a great addition to our list.

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Arena coached Altidore in his MLS debut with the New York Red Bulls and with the USMNT. Altidore is expected to leave Toronto via a buyout and then join the Revs, who set a single-season points record (73) in 2021.

The Livingston, NJ native would join New England via a Targeted Allocation deal. He was a designated player with the TFC.

Altidore, 32, has been involved in some of the greatest moments in TFC history, including helping the Reds win the domestic treble in 2017 – the Supporters’ Shield, the Canadian Championship and the MLS Cup. Altidore has scored 79 goals in 173 total games for TFC.

HAMILTON TOWARDS THE EMERALD ISLAND

Former TFC striker Jordan Hamilton has signed with Sligo Rovers from the Irish Premier League.

Hamilton, 25, from Scarborough and one of the best lads in professional sport, played for the Reds from 2014 to 2019 and was a member of the TFC team that won the Domestic Treble in 2017.

He scored 11 goals in 54 regular season games in MLS and was a former Canadian national team international.

In July 2019, Hamilton was traded to the Columbus Crew with an international roster spot and $50,000 TAM cash, in exchange for forward Patrick Mullins and an undisclosed amount of conditional stipend cash.

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