SEATTLE — When Toronto FC offered former MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco in January, there have been loads of questions as to how the membership deliberate to switch the dynamic playmaker with no notable drop in manufacturing.
The reply, because it turned out, was Alejandro Pozuelo.
Toronto FC is ready to play the Seattle Sounders in an MLS Cup Ultimate for the third time in 4 years on Sunday, and Pozuelo is poised to play a starring function. The 28-year-old Spaniard has helped lead Toronto FC on its shock postseason run to the title sport at CenturyLink Area, scoring a pair of targets and helping on two others in three playoff appearances.
Pozuelo’s playoff productiveness has been an extension of his type through the common season, and has been particularly very important with main goal-scorer Jozy Altidore sidelined since Oct. 6 with an harm.
“He’s simply completely different,” stated a marveling Altidore on Thursday. “He’s very silky, very technical, a really, superb passer of the ball. I like that he takes threat on the ball. If he sees a cross, he tries it. If it doesn’t go properly, he’ll attempt it once more.
“He’s a very good man, he’s a free spirit, and I believe it exhibits on the sector and I believe he’s been a spectacular addition.”
Toronto FC followers are prone to agree with that. Tasked with instantly changing the contributions of gifted catalyst Giovinco, Pozuelo crammed the Italian playmaker’s sneakers in 2019 by recording 12 targets and 12 assists in 30 regular-season video games.
By no means thoughts that Pozuelo needed to adapt to taking part in on a brand new group, in a brand new league, and in a brand new nation after years in Belgium.
“I believe he will be higher, too,” stated Altidore. “I believe this primary season he’s had a protracted yr, numerous video games (after coming over through the center of the European season). He’s performed like 70-something video games, so I believe he wants a break and I believe subsequent yr he will be even higher.”
Opposing groups absolutely won’t need that, particularly after seeing the influence the attacking midfielder has had within the playoffs. With Altidore nursing a quad harm picked up on the final day of the marketing campaign, Pozuelo has moved out of his standard No. 10 function to function the spearhead of the assault.
The 5-foot-7 veteran has executed a strong job taking part in out of place, too, particularly in his two-goal efficiency within the 2-1 victory over New York Metropolis FC within the Jap Convention Semifinals.
“I’ve needed to play a bit as a false 9, which is a place I prefer to play as a result of I really feel a bit free,” stated Pozuelo in Spanish. “I can transfer kind of the place I would like in it, however everyone knows Jozy is essential and has different, very completely different qualities that additionally assist us out so much.
“If he’s not there on Sunday, then I’ll do the whole lot in addition to I can so the group can profit from it.”
If Pozuelo can replicate the kind of influence he has had within the postseason matches thus far, Toronto FC will stand an honest probability of successful a second MLS Cup in three years, a title that may reward Pozuelo’s choice to make the transfer to MLS, and tackle the problem of changing a participant like Giovinco.
“I didn’t assume twice about coming right here after the primary day I met with the membership and particularly with (common supervisor Ali Curtis) in Belgium,” stated Pozuelo. “As soon as I bought right here, our expectations began to get met. Fortunately in three days now we have a remaining, which is what the membership wished.”