Toronto FC midfielder Marky Delgado fills Michael Bradley-sized hole in lineup: "He did an admirable job"

TORONTO -- With Michael Bradley away and the club leaning heavily, on Sebastian Giovinco to provide the offense, Toronto FC knew that they needed others to step up in their captain's absence.

When Marky Delgado was selected last November in the Chivas USA dispersal draft, MLS connoisseurs knew Toronto had plucked a gem out from under the noses of the four teams who passed before he was taken with the 14th pick.

TFC Coach Greg Vanney, who was familiar with Delgado from his days on the staff at Chivas, spoke about the player post-match, “I've know him since the academy; for a number of years. He's always had the capacity to do an incredible amount of work on the field. He's a technical player; he's composed, I think, beyond his years, in terms of around pressure; he has very good technique. I honestly don't know how he dropped the position he did where we were able to take him.”

The 20-year old has repaid the faith Vanney has showed in him with strong performances in Toronto's last two matches, contributing at both ends of the pitch; first as a wide midfielder at New York City FC and then in middle of the park on Saturday against the Philadelphia Union.

“[Marky Delgado] did a great job last week in New York of helping us defensively, but still having the energy and the speed to get forward into good spots. He did that last week when he scored the goal and today, he has such a big engine to help us defend a little bit deeper, but also to get out and help Jozy [Altidore] and Sebastian in transition.”

Having scored a goal and registered an assist against New York City FC, Delgado made it two-from-two with his 29th minute strike against Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon, opening up the scoring, setting the stage for a 2-1 Toronto win, and ending a three-match winless streak in the process.

With Giovinco and Jonathan Osorio on the ball, Delgado took advantage of the defenders' preoccupation to ghost into a central position. His first touch was a little heavy, allowing Richie Marquez to attempt to attempt a clearance, but Delgado stayed with it, guiding the redirection into the roof of the Union goal.

The soft-spoken Delgado knew transitioning to Toronto would not be easy, “Coming in here I knew it was going to be hard for me to break into the lineup because of the quality of players we have in the midfield. But I was patient, just waiting for my opportunity, to come in and make an impact. I had my chance against Montreal Impact and I took full advantage of that.”

Given his last two outings, in particular, it is one he has managed well, “I feel like I'm fitting in comfortably. I'm in a good position, and fitting in well with the group. Since I've been training with them and getting into the first team more, I feel like I've grown more chemistry with the other players, like Osorio, Collen Warner, and Benoit [Cheyrou]. The chemistry has grown and it's good on the field.”

Vanney needed somebody to fulfill that central role against a high-flying Philadelphia side, having chosen to return Cheyrou to his defensive midfield spot, admitting in reference to the weather, “It's a tough day to ask the kid to do a lot of running, that the position requires.” Before continuing, “Michael usually does that for us; I think he [Delgado] did an admirable job.”