So far so good for Toronto FC's Victor Vazquez, but expectations rising

TSN Friday Match Night: Victor Vazquez in action for Toronto FC

TORONTO – When Victor Vazquez was brought to Toronto in February it was said he would be the one to pick the locks in the final third. 

Seven appearances into his MLS career, it is safe to say that Vazquez has been as advertised, with five assists to go with his goal against Vancouver.

The midfielder has played a role in seven of Toronto FC's last eight goals. When not directly credited, he is the one playing the vital passes earlier in the play.

“He is what we thought,” said TFC head coach Greg Vanney from training last week. “Moves the ball quickly, has the eye for a final pass, can shift numbers around; very talented, an educated right foot. [Getting on he score sheet] is one of the measures as an attacking midfielder; in that way, he's been successful. As a group, we've got to win games. That will ultimately determine everybody's success.”

Though Vazquez has hit the ground running, TFC have been slow out of the gates, collecting 10 of 21 available points and winning just twice through seven matches. They have lost only once, but they, like Vazquez himself, know more is expected.

“Pretty good,” smiled Vazquez on Thursday when asked if he was enjoying his football. “We are doing well the last couple of weeks. We have to keep it like that because now we have two games at home that we must win, take six points, to be on top of the East and the league.”

Still acclimating to his new surroundings, the Spaniard was delighted with the fierceness of MLS competition, something not present on previous stops in his career, including Belgium: “Every team can win. It's really competitive.”

“That's the most difficult part for me,” explained Vazquez. “In Brugge we were the favorites. When you play against the small teams you have easy games, it wasn't as hard as here.”

This makes Vazquez happy: “When the competition is competitive, you can challenge yourself every game. It's nice.”

Taking the field alongside the formidable strike duo of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore, Vazquez's inclusion makes Toronto an even more dangerous side. The relationship between the three has grown immensely, but, given the aspirations of the club – Supporters' Shield, MLS Cup, and beyond, more is anticipated.

“We try it,” said Vazquez of the budding partnerships. “I'm an offensive midfielder and they are the strikers. We have to have this relationship between us, otherwise we cannot score goals. I'm happy to be involved in the goals, [but] most important is that I'm playing well, that the coach gives me the confidence, [the] freedom to play. Only two months here and I'm proud to do what I did already.”

In that short time, Vazquez has earned the praise and admiration of his teammates. 

Benoit Cheyrou, speaking last Thursday, made special note of one oft-overlooked facet: “[Victor] plays for the team.” Vazquez himself has said he prefers providing assists to scoring goals and Cheyrou promised, ahead of Vazquez's two-assist night last week against Chicago, “we have a lot more to discover from him in the next couple of weeks.”

“In terms of playing with him, it's easy," midfielder Michael Bradley noted. "When he needs to play one and two touch, he [does]. When there is the opportunity to take a few more touches and to set something up, he's able to do that. We've started to get him going; we're still scratching the surface though.”