TORONTO – With Toronto FC having struggled to score goals in recent weeks, newly signed winger Álvaro Rey will likely get his chance to bolster the TFC attack sooner rather than later.
Rey, who most recently played for Xérez in the Spanish second division, will likely be in uniform on Saturday when TFC face the Columbus Crew (2 pm ET, MLS Free Stream of the Week), but it isn’t likely he will see extended minutes if he does make his MLS debut.
“Álvaro is not 100 percent fit at the moment,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen told MLSsoccer.com. “He is kind of in the middle of what would be a preseason for him, so even he will admit that he is not 100 percent fit yet. But he is available for selection on Saturday.”
While the 24-year-old Spaniard is open in admitting that he arrives in Toronto without a whole lot of knowledge about his new league, Rey is hopeful that the familiarity that he has been able to gain with his new teammates during his weeks-long trial will enable him to get off to a quick start in the North American top flight.
“The fact that I trained here for three weeks has definitely helped in getting accustomed to the group and the coaching and the style of play,” Rey said via a translator following training on Friday. “I knew a limited amount about MLS [prior to signing with Toronto], really just about the players that have been coming to the league.
"I have never played outside of Spain, but slowly but surely I am getting to know more about the league and the players within it.”
The addition of the Seville native adds another natural winger to Toronto’s roster and provides Nelsen with a player who is expected to contribute to the TFC attack during the dog days of summer.
“We obviously need some options out wide,” Nelsen said. “We are a bit bare out there. We have had Jonathan Osorio playing out wide at the moment and his best position is probably as an attacking midfielder. Álvaro is really comfortable on the ball and he is very skillful. He likes to take players on one-vs.-one and he has a very good cross.”
With veteran MLS winger Bobby Convey having shown improved form in recent weeks and with Osorio having looked quite effective playing out wide, Toronto FC look to finally have a stable of players who can provide quality service from the flanks and who can function as outlets for central midfielders Matías Laba and Jeremy Hall.
“I can play on the right or the left,” Rey said. “I like to go at defenders as I am an attacking-minded player. Hopefully my skills can help the team to get ahead.”
Given that Nelsen and TFC president and general manager Kevin Payne have stated in recent weeks that they expect to bring in several players during the current summer transfer window, Toronto FC supporters can likely expect further additions to Rey in the coming days.
“We’re pretty close to further signings,” Nelsen said. “We’re getting close and hopefully you’ll hear more pretty soon.”