How did Victor Vazquez find that much space?
It was the 48th minute of Toronto FC’s home match against the San Jose Earthquakes. Already trailing 1-0, San Jose presumably talked at halftime about limiting service to the talented strike partnership of Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco in an attempt to salvage the match.
Nevertheless, Vazquez had evaded both of SJ’s central midfielders and received a ball in space from Drew Moor. With no defenders in sight, Vazquez turned and slipped a pass to Altidore, sending TFC on its way to another three points at home.
It was an understated moment of brilliance for the Barcelona native, who has enjoyed an excellent season for the league’s best team (seven goals and a league-leading 16 assists). As is evident in this network passing graph from the San Jose game, Vazquez generally occupies an advanced, central position and acts as a primary conduit to the Toronto forwards.
Network Passing Graph, TOR v SJ, September 9, 2017
His offensive output has also caused his stock soar in the Audi Player Index, where he ranks as the league’s top player in the month of September. His vision and passing volume have been unparalleled -- in that San Jose game, we counted an eye-popping 83 completed passes in the opponent’s half of the field.
Averaging 1171 points per match in September, Vázquez has put a great deal of distance between himself and the league’s other midfielders. He ranks as the top midfielder in a handful of categories, including goals from inside the box and assists.
His season-long numbers aren't too shabby either, as he currently sits in seventh place in the Audi Player Index Award rankings.
As Toronto FC put the finishing touches on a likely Supporters' Shield, Vazquez and Co. will want to bounce back from dismal performance against Montreal on Wednesday night. They’ll get their chance when they visit the Jay Heaps-less New England for a Saturday afternoon tilt (5 pm ET; TSN1 in Canada | MLS LIVE in US).