Jermain Defoe buzzing after virtuoso Toronto FC debut, ready for encore in home opener
TORONTO – Jermain Defoe’s two-goal MLS debut not only earned him a Player of the Week nod, but it also gave his team a valuable three points on opening day.
Speaking to reporters after a training session at BMO Field on Tuesday, Defoe said those two goals left him buzzing after the match, a 2-1 win Saturday over the Seattle Sounders.
“When you’re doing it at the time, you’re in the zone and you’re so focused,” Defoe said. “It’s not until after the game, you sit back and you think, ‘Oh, that was quite good.’ But when you’re actually on the pitch, you’re so focused you’ve got tunnel vision.
“I think I watched the goals back about a hundred times."
He wasn’t the only one watching, though. Defoe’s former Tottenham teammates also saw his debut goals against the Sounders.
“I got a lot of texts from the players from Tottenham, a lot of messages and stuff,” Defoe said. “It’s nice because players move on from clubs, but you still remain friends. I still look out for their results. A lot of players move on, but for me it’s a fresh challenge.”
Defoe is also watching the goings on in the Premier League, too, with one eye on the FIFA World Cup coming up in the summer.
“A couple of Southampton players scored, so it was important for me to keep my name up there [and scoring], I suppose,” Defoe said, referring to Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez, two of his competitors for a spot on England's 2014 World Cup roster.
And scoring in his debut certainly keeps Defoe’s name on English national team coach Roy Hodgson’s radar.
This isn’t the first time, however, Defoe has scored in his debut. Back in February 2004, Defoe, then 21 years old, made his debut and scored for Tottenham Hotspur against Portsmouth. His teammate, Robbie Keane, also made the score sheet in that 4-2 win.
- Get the latest TFC news at TorontoFC.ca
How do those two goals compare for Defoe?
“They’re different goals,” Defoe told MLSsoccer.com. “I seem to be making a habit of it, though.
”I’ve always been so focused on my debuts that I’ve been lucky enough to score in every debut. You can sort of now, like, not relax a bit but go into the next game confident. I’m sure, or I hope, that if the chance comes, I’ll be able to get another goal.”
There will be an entirely new opportunity to feel abuzz when Defoe and Toronto FC make their home debut this weekend. The Reds take on D.C. United (4:30 pm ET; TSN in Canada and MLS Live in the US), and Defoe is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd for the first time.
“People have told me there’s a buzz around the city,” Defoe said. “I just wanted to win the [Seattle] game so badly because I remember saying before, it’s important to get off to a good start.
"The first game is always important in the season. I think it lifts the change room and the fans here. I can imagine on Saturday, is going to be electric.”