Alejandro Pozuelo Electrifies BMO Field in Toronto FC Debut
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Friday, March 29, 2019
Toronto---25, 447 fans witnessed a memorable debut as Alejandro Pozuelo's two goals and one assist led Toronto FC to victory against New York City FC.
Friday marked the debut of Toronto FC’s newest Designated Player signing Alejandro Pozuelo, who Vanney immediately placed in to the starting-XI in the center attacking midfield position, where he would be relied on to create scoring opportunities for striker Jozy Altidore as well making sure his wingers are able to create space for crosses. Pozuelo will also be wearing the number-10 on his uniform, the same number Sebastian Giovinco wore during his tenure in Toronto, so he’ll have plenty of expectations to live up to including the number and reputation that comes with being a designated player in MLS.
This was also Altidore’s first start of the season as he came on in the second half last week and scored the big game-winning goal in the 80th minute. With Altidore as the lone striker up top, this could also mean that Vanney prefer having one striker as opposed to two, which was a formation he went with last year when Giovinco and Altidore were both in the lineup.
Toronto FC began the game with a great scoring opportunity in the seventh-minute, when Jozy Altidore found spare through New York City’s defense and a rebound went from Osorio to Justin Morrow, who struck the ball over the net. It looked as though Morrow redeemed himself a minute later, when he struck the ball from almost the exact same spot and with a nice strike with his off foot, but the goal was disallowed after video review determined that Toronto were offside.
For his MLS debut, Pozuelo didn’t look like he was out of place with his new club; he was facilitating the offense and looked more than comfortable considering he’s still adjusting to Toronto’s playing style and finding the strengths of his teammates. It also helps that Pozuelo came over to Toronto after he completed the season with KRC Genk, so it’s not a situation where he’s in pre-season form.
Toronto FC had yet another goal disallowed due to offside in the 24th minute, which could've put them ahead 2-0. On the bright side, this is a good sign for Toronto because it shows that their offensive tactics were working against NYCFC.
Third time was a charm for Toronto as they were finally awarded a goal in the 29th minute, when Jozy Altidore scored his second goal of the season following an incredible pass by new teammate Alejandro Pozuelo, putting TFC up 1-0. Pozuelo made a difficult pass with ease and put his creativity on display for those in attendance at BMO Field.
In the second half, Toronto FC picked up right where they left off; they were linking up well offensively and found success getting the ball to Altidore in the box. Toronto FC were awarded a penalty kick in the 56th minute after a video review showed that Alexander Callens pulled Altidore down by his jersey when he attempted a head the ball. Pozuelo stepped up to the spot and scored his first goal as a member of TFC off an incredible chip that had New York City goalkeeper Sean Johnson going the opposite direction.
Pozuelo wasn't done yet as he would electrify the crowd with an unbelievable goal in the 78th minute, when he struck another perfectly placed chip past Johnson for his second goal of the game. After the goal, Pozuelo was subbed out of the game for Jay Chapman and received a standing ovation from the fans.
Chapman didn't waste any time as he'd put Toronto up 4-0 in the 83rd minute after he struck a powerful shot past Johnson and then proceeded to celebrate similar to how Cristiano Ronaldo does when he scores for Juventus.
"When I score, I just kind of do whatever...I think last year I did like the Mbappe one too. That just goes to show you when I score I just kind of do what comes to mind, now I just got to pay homage to the greats of the game."
- Jay Chapman on his goal celebration
Although BMO Field had many empty seats, if the team's play Friday night was any indicator of what's to come, look for that to change real quick.
Photo and Video Credit: Toronto FC