TORONTO — Midfielder Eric Avila has fit in quite well with Toronto FC because he has a lot in common with his teammates: He’s new to the club.
The 23-year-old was obtained from FC Dallas in a trade that sent forward Maicon Santos the other way on Aug. 2. Upon his arrival, he has played in two full games — a win and a draw — and is enjoying it.
“It’s always nice to be getting on the field especially with someone who encourages you to go out there and be free and go out there with confidence on attack,” he said last week.
The transition has been made easier by the fact that his former teammate, Peri Marosevic, was signed by Toronto on July 28 after Dallas waived him. Avila was drafted by Dallas in 2008 and Marosevic in 2009.
Marosevic scored a goal in each of his first two league games with Toronto, both as a sub, and started this past Saturday’s 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake. Marosevic didn't get a goal against RSL, but did make a crucial run to open the far post for Joao Plata on the game-winner.
“I’ve played with him since I was 17 in [US] national-team camp and luckily he got drafted to Dallas,” Avila said of Marosevic. “That was good. I’m glad he’s doing real well. It was a tough break in Dallas, just a lot of people and it was hard for him to get in, so him scoring two goals and doing well makes me happy.”
Avila also played with defender Andy Iro at UC Santa Barbara on the Gauchos’ 2006 national championship team. Iro joined Toronto in a trade with Columbus last month.
“It’s an easy transition,” Avila said. “All the guys are new, but we’re clicking. And it’s getting there and hopefully we can continue with that.”
Avila played 63 games with FC Dallas and scored three goals with seven assists. He likes the system head coach Aron Winter has installed, with three strikers playing in front of an attack-minded midfield.
“Of course, it’s really different,” Avila said. “The way the ball moves and all that going forward, it’s great. I’ve been trying to help the attack as much as I can. Going forward I’m going at people, that’s the encouragement here.”
The San Diego native also is enjoying his new town.
“The city here is amazing, it’s beautiful,” he said. “I catch myself walking a lot and I cannot do that. I’ve got to get off those legs.”