TORONTO – When Domenec Torrent takes charge of his first match on June 24 at Yankee Stadium, it will be against a familiar face.
A long-time assistant to Pep Guardiola — first at Barcelona, then Bayern Munich, and most recently Manchester City — Torrent comes to MLS with high praise from one of his former charges.
“I worked with him in Barcelona for two years, one in the second team and one in the first team,” said Vazquez on Tuesday. “He's a really smart guy, was doing all the analysis, the video, all these things.”
“And now he gets the chance,” continued Vazquez. “I think he's going to do really well because when you are next to Guardiola, you learn a lot.”
With limited experience in the main job, having coached in the lower Spanish divisions and at FC Girona before moving to Guardiola's side, Vazquez called the 55-year old a “young coach,” but is sure “he will do it well.”
"He has a big group there; David Villa is going to help him [settle into MLS],” continued Vazquez. “And I wish him all the best because he's a good guy and I have a good relationship with him.”
Though he hasn't had the chance to reach out directly yet, Vazquez did speak with another Manchester City assistant, Rodolfo Borrell, upon hearing the news.
“Yesterday I was talking with him because I wanted to know how everything was with Torrent,” said Vazquez. “They're really happy for him. He's looking forward to coaching the team and they are really interested in this league.”
“He deserves it,” added Vazquez. “And we will see him in two weeks. The first match for him will be against us. It will be fun.”
That only adds to what should be a cracker of a match.
NYCFC sits near the top of the Eastern Conference, where TFC aims to be. And the two have played some classics over the years, with NYCFC bossing the early encounters, only for Toronto to turn the tables of late, including the Conference Semifinals of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs, which TFC won by a 7-0 aggregate score.
Asked if he and his teammates were planning a rough welcome for his old colleague when league play resumed after the FIFA World Cup break, Vazquez laughed: “We'll see.”