In the off-season Toronto FC added attacking midfielder Victor Vazquez to an already-strong squad that lacked a little guile, subtlety and creativity. The Spaniard has provided these attributes in droves. The Cosh boys discuss his quiet impact:
From a footballing perspective, is Victor Vazquez the most intelligent player Toronto FC have ever had?
Mohaned: He’s certainly up there. From his first game for TFC, you could tell he had a brilliant footballing brain with excellent vision. He saw the game differently and was a breath of fresh air from that attacking midfield role which was prior occupied by Bradley who was more of a rugged deep lying play maker. I cant think of anyone else who has a higher football IQ in this current TFC squad. Bradley is close, but he just cant seem to always translate it to actions.
Alex: Yes. Toronto FC have had a few playmakers over the years – Guevara, Ricketts to an extent, DeRo was a smart player and obviously Giovinco is incredibly intelligent although perhaps more instinctual, but the way Vazquez sees the game and his use of angles and weight of pass is on a higher level.
Rishay: No, because Giovinco and Altidore have also been brilliant. However, he is right up there and has been on indispensable form this season, giving that TFC midfield the control of games.
Vazquez seems to bring the best out of the players around him, but which teammate has his presence helped the most?
Rishay: Vazquez has superb chemistry with all players around him. I particularly like how he has been using Raheem Edwards’ prowess in wide areas and also his general interplay with Giovinco and Altidore. His role enables Bradley to sit deeper and the team to keep possession well, but also implicitly relieves the pressure on Giovinco, as he was previously a bit of a one-man show. To me these four players are interchangeable in terms of a concrete answer.
Mohaned: Bradley for me. It allows him to sit deeper in a role he is more comfortable with. A deeper role means Bradley can see the game better and have more time on the ball to spray those long diagonals he enjoys so much. Vazquez can maneuver and play better in the tight spaces of that attacking midfield role and is more suited to it. Win-win for both.
Alex: The wing backs are really enjoying having Vazquez in the team. As Rishay said we’ve seen recently how well he connects with Raheem Edwards, giving him perfectly weighted passes to deliver into the box. As the understanding grows, I think the wing backs could have the biggest advantage and improvement due to Vazquez on the team.
In the 2015 season Sebastian Giovinco made a club record 16 assists. We’re at the start of July and Vasquez has 10. Will he beat Giovinco’s record?
Alex: Yes, barring injury. He’s averaging .76 assists a game. It’s ridiculous.
Mohaned: He must. Surely. Unless we see another Ozil – Fabregas scenario and Altidore just decides to stop scoring goals. The 16 assists are well within range and with the form Vazquez is on, it will be broken.
Rishay: If he continues this current hot streak, there is no doubt he can. Let’s also not forget that TFC started the season really slowly, with only 1 win from their opening 5 or 6 matches. Vazquez has been integral to their rise to the top of the standings, and will be integral to their performance for the rest of the season. If TFC win the Supporter’s Shield, Vazquez will have definitely beaten Giovinco’s assist record.
Victor Vazquez for MLS MVP. Yes or no?
Rishay: These awards oftne come down to popularity. Giovinco is the club’s most popular player, so for Vazquez to win the award he will have to continue to outshine all of his teammates as well as the rest of the MLS.
Mohaned: Unfortunately, history is not on Vazquez’s side. The last four MVPs have been strikers and I anticipate this trend to continue in MLS. Its not impossible, but improbable.
Alex: With Mohaned on this one. However deserving he may/will be, I don’t think he’ll get it. Maybe we as TFC fans can give him some kind of award ourselves. Maybe the Vasquez Vase.
What do you think of Toronto FC’s creative pass-master? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.