TORONTO – Marky Delgado is starting to put a firm hold on a starting role in the Toronto FC midfield. 

Delgado made his second consecutive start for TFC in Friday night's 2-0 home win over Houston, collecting his first assist of the season and once more proving instrumental in helping the side on both sides of the ball.

Following last week's 3-1 win over Chicago, Delgado was singled out for praise. Midweek, Victor Vazquez called him “one of the best players on the pitch” and hoped he would do it again come Friday.

He did.

“[Delgado] built off of last game,” TFC head coach Greg Vanney said after the match. “Marky was involved in some of our quicker combinations. He was playing in one and two-touch, moving it, getting it to guys early…. Marky has done a really nice job of moving the ball quickly, getting the difference makers the ball in the right place, at the right time, in the right way. He's been very efficient.”

It was his ball that found Raheem Edwards towards the end of a 20-pass sequence that led to Jozy Altidore's first goal and netted Delgado an assist, but most of his impact comes deeper on the field, where he responds well to subtle changes on the field.

“The other thing he does very well is he transitions in both directions,” said Vanney. “As soon as something happens for an attacking to defensive transition, he's quick to track back, work to disrupt.

“And the same thing if we're in a defensive position and we win the ball, he's the first one to break out, help us get out of pressure and into the next phase of play. Those have helped him the last couple of games, but most importantly it's helped the team find a good rhythm in terms of ball circulation and chance creation.”

Again this week, Michael Bradley was full of praise for his central midfield partner: “He’s a very good player. He covers ground, plays simply, understands the game. He's a two-way player: in on tackles, helps when we don't have the ball, but his ability to move around and find space, play one- and two-touch when we have the ball, really helps the team.”

On a night where Altidore nabbed the goals, but the team was the star, Delgado was rightly celebrated for his hard work. He showed the occasional moment of flash in the process, too, including a neat backheel touch to burst into space down the right.

And when he was replaced by Jonathan Osorio in the 70th minute, the crowd recognized his efforts with a standing ovation.

In a team with a glut of midfielders, Delgado’s recent performances will make it difficult to dislodge him from the starting XI.

“He's a classic example of a guy who in some ways doesn't catch [the] eye right away,” schooled Bradley. “But when you understand the game, are able to really look and watch, then you start to see what he's all about. He's going to continue to get better and better."