Toronto FC have been lacking consistent goalscorers throughout most of their history, but the management is hoping they have solved that issue with the acquisition of their newest Designated Player, Gilberto.
The Brazilian forward, 24, comes to Canada after scoring 14 goals in the Brazilian Série A last season for Portuguesa, which placed him sixth in the league despite playing just 27 games.
Among players with at least 10 goals, of which there were 21, Gilberto (above, center) had the second highest goals per game played rate. He clearly has a love for shooting the ball, too, judging by the fact that he ranked third among these players in terms of shots per game, averaging about 2.5.
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In contrast, Toronto FC’s strikers last season put in a combined 14 goals. They also collectively managed to register just 1.3 shots per game, a disappointing number considering their main job is to score goals.
The shots that they did take also did not come off their feet very accurately. Only 43 percent of their shots (excluding blocks) were put on frame and less than 13 percent of them went into the back of the net. Both of these figures put Toronto FC’s strikers in the bottom four in MLS 2013 against the other team’s striker pools.
Against Brazilian competition, Gilberto fared much better than Toronto’s strikers did in their respective league. He was able to put 47 percent of his shots on target and a whopping 20.6 percent of them ended up being goals.
Though those are the kinds of numbers that will make TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen eager to pencil him into next year's starting XI, there is a question mark regarding the striker's consistency. Of his 14 goals in 2013, 13 of them came in a two-month period between mid-August and mid-October, and his last competitive goals before July came back in November 2012.
Still, if he starts 2014 like he finished 2013, TFC fans will find themselves with a lot more goals to celebrate in the coming season.