Alejandro Pozuelo is coming off being named MLS Player of the Month for September and scored the winner Saturday night against the Philadelphia Union that put Toronto FC level on points with Supporters’ Shield-leading Columbus Crew SC.
“He’s been great since he’s been in the league, a very dangerous player, very similar to the [Sebastian] Giovinvo effect in the fact he’s a game changer so we have to be aware of him at all times,” Farrell said in a conference call with reporters Monday.
And like Giovinco, Pozuelo is being mentioned as a candidate to win the Landon Donovan MVP award.
“He's a great player, obviously a lot of the game Toronto does plays through him,” Farrell added. “He can shoot from outside. He creates a lot of chances, he’s been scoring some goals in the box, he’s scored on the back post, some headers so he can do it all — right foot, left foot, headers — and creates a lot of the game for them.”
Pozuelo has four goals and an assist during Toronto’s current five-match unbeaten streak, one they’ll put on the line when they head to Gillette Stadium to meet the Revs Wednesday (7:30 pm ET | TSN 1/4 in Canada; MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US).
His primary job, of course, is that of a playmaker, but New England coach Bruce Arena said Pozuelo’s versatility makes him “an excellent player.”
“He’s a good passer, he’s a goalscorer,” Arena said.
With Pozuelo pulling the strings, Toronto will provide a stiff test for the Revs Wednesday, but one they welcome with open arms. They’re a club that has aspirations of jumping into the top four in the East, which means at least one postseason home game.
A week that includes Toronto FC and New York City FC at Yankee Stadium will provide a proper litmus test.
“They’ve got a very dangerous attack, and really stout defense so everywhere you look for them, they can create chances and so we just got to be ready, as a team,” Farrell said. “I think we've been doing well defensively, as a whole unit the back floor and obviously with Matt [Turner] doing what he’s been doing all year as one of the best goalkeepers in the league. I'm excited for what we have and it's going to be a good matchup for us and to really test where we are this year.”
And while last year’s MLS Cup runners up appear to be rounding into form late in the regular season and could be poised for another deep playoff run, Arena said “it’s been challenging to find any consistency in this inconsistent season,” for any team in the league.
“With the difficulty of the schedule and how challenging everything is, I don’t know what any of these results tell us in terms of comparing teams,” Arena said. “I think once the playoffs hit and it's single elimination, I think there’s going to be a lot of surprising results in the playoffs as well.”