It was the Alejandro Pozuelo show at BMO Field, as Toronto FC's newest Designated Player made his MLS debut in style in a 4-0 win over New York City FC in the first edition of "MLS Friday Night on TSN."
The Spaniard, joining after playing nearly a whole season for Belgian club Genk, showed up in full fitness, as he scored an audacious brace and an assist in a sparkling North American debut.
It was only the 7th minute when Pozuelo set up Jozy Altidore with a throughball for a good chance. And after two goals were scratched due to offside, Toronto finally broke through in the 29th minute. Pozuelo showed his magic in the buildup to the goal from the center line all the way to the penalty spot, before sending a low square ball to Altidore to finish.
The home side's lead was doubled in the 58th minute, after Altidore drew a penalty. Pozuelo stepped up to the spot, scoring with a wicked off-speed panenka spot kick to open his account.
He then raised the ante further 20 minutes later, scoring a looping chip from the run of play that looked completely effortless and left NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson flummoxed.
Substitute Jay Chapman offered a further exclamation point on the evening, as he hit a sharp one-timer to make it a true rout for Toronto.
- 29' – TOR – Jozy Altidore | WATCH
- 58' – TOR – Alejandro Pozuelo (PK) | WATCH
- 78' – TOR – Alejandro Pozuelo | WATCH
- 83' – TOR – Jay Chapman | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: The quieter story coming out on the night is that TFC have posted three wins to open a season for the first time ever. The story you'll be hearing about for the next week, however, is Pozuelo's instant impact. No disrespect to players who have come before, but it sure looks like Pozuelo can help the TFC faithful bear with the departures of other playmakers in recent months. For NYCFC, they were also-rans the entire way and questions about their cohesion persist another week.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Pozuelo's chip was the more impressive goal, but he truly laid a marker down with the panenka, one of the filthiest you're going to see anywhere.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Of course, it's Pozuelo, who with an assist and two goals gave an exceptional first glimpse of what he can do in MLS. His play was electric throughout his time on the field.