In his return to Major League Soccer, Jozy Altidore displayed a scoring touch that will leave Sunderland fans shaking their head wondering where that was during his ill–fated spell with the club.
Altidore flopped in both tries in the Premier League, but he has shown with the US National team, and with AZ in the Eredivisie league, that he can be a prolific scorer. TFC ownership and fans were hoping that is what that Altidore that was returning to MLS and not the one who scored 5 goals in 80 appearances in England.
And if Saturday afternoon in Vancouver is any indication, Toronto might have one of the best strikers in MLS as Altidore marked his Toronto debut with a pair of goals to led TFC to a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The 25-year-old USA international cancelled out Octavio Rivero’s opener at BC Place when he rounded keeper David Ousted after running on to Sebastian Giovinco’s pass, and after Robbie Findley had made it 2-1 to the visitors, wrapped up the points when he won and audaciously converted a penalty at the death.
TFC head coach Greg Vanney has no doubts about his quality after witnessing his first contribution. He told MLSsoccer.com:
“Jozy played like a monster out there. The ball he took down and how he took it down and protected it when he got brought down for a penalty-kick was a world-class play.
“I think the people who were questioning Jozy probably got a real quick image, now, of what he is capable of and what they’re going to see a lot more of in this league.”
In comments after the game to Toronto FC’s YouTube channel Altidore said:
“It was good. It’s a new formation, new team-mates for all of us, so I think the transition will be difficult for everybody.
“But I thought today, we showed, especially in the second half, that we have the quality when things settle down to unlock the game, so it’s good to get the three points.”
Asked in particular about his Panenka-style penalty, he added:
“It’s a little bit easier to take them when you are up 2-1, obviously, and there’s a little bit less risk.”