TORONTO – The attack will look a little bit different this year.
Sebastian Giovinco is gone, so too is Victor Vazquez, and Jozy Altidore is still recovering from offseason foot surgery. While the search for reinforcements continues, Toronto FC have brought in one forward that will give the side a different element: Terrence Boyd.
“He is what he looks like: a big, physical forward, who likes to get a piece of defenders,” TFC coach Greg Vanney said before the side departed for the opening leg of their 2019 Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 series against Independiente (8 pm ET | TSN4, YahooSports.com). “He will drive center backs crazy.”
“He's just a handful to deal with: strong, powerful, attacks the ball with a lot of aggression. He's not afraid of much,” Vanney added. “He's comfortable holding up the ball; we're continuing to connect with runs off of him, he'll have presence in the box and high up the field.”
Boyd's signing was announced on February 5 after three seasons with German club SV Darmstadt 98. A former US international, the 27-year-old always knew a chance to play in MLS would come.
“The last years have been hard for me [with] injuries. I didn't really play,” Boyd said. “As a person, you go after your profession, you don't really get to do it and you love it. It's hard. Ali Curtis reached out to my agent, and I was like, 'Yeah, let's do it. No worries, let's do it!'”
One-time USMNT – and now club – teammates Altidore and Michael Bradley were a phone call away and that Torsten Frings, his former manager at Darmstadt, spent some time in Toronto didn't hurt. However, he will be leaving his cafe in the Frankfurt area, Boyd's, behind.
Boyd quickly worked his way into the side during preseason camp in California, finding the back of the net against the Colorado Rapids in the final preparation match.
“Right now it's just a process of getting settled, finding an apartment, getting your family over to Canada, getting adjusted,” Boyd said. “Within the team, on the pitch, I love the way we play: in possession; against the ball. Everything has been good so far. The only thing that is left for me is to get a good start on the season, help the team win, get some goals, assists.”
Up first: the Concacaf Champions League in Panama.
“I've been to Panama once and it's just hostile,” Boyd said. “I'm not really looking forward to playing there, but at the same time I am looking forward to the first competitive match for Toronto.”
“[Terrence] is not afraid of contact, not afraid to put his body into people, to make sure that every defender who walks off the field after playing against him understands that it's not been an easy day,” Bradley said. “He's going to give us an element, an option, that we haven't had in the last few years. It's been good to get him here into group.”
And though Vanney doesn't suspect he'll be fielding both Altidore and Boyd together, “they're capable of [it].”
“I don't think they're complementary, but they could be a handful for any center backs who had to deal with them. If there is a time where we need a goal, putting things towards the box, there is an opportunity.”
Boyd knows there are naysayers and he has a message for them.
“First of all, because of all that [expletive] I was reading: I'm not Giovinco; I'm not capable of what he can do.”
“I'm a guy who throws himself into every tackle, tries to sacrifice myself for the team,” he added. “I want to put in everything I've got, contribute with goals and assists, do everything I can within my power.”
He'll fit nicely in Toronto.
“I'm a guy who is coming from the will, [the desire], that's my attribute,” added Boyd with a grin. “Off the pitch, I'm a clown, I don't take life serious. On the pitch. I'm not scared of anybody, I'll [expletive] up everybody; seriously. Now I heard about MLS fines and suspensions... that might be some trouble coming.”