Toronto to show off Pozuelo; NYCFC waiting on Heber

ByReuters ESPN logo
Friday, March 29, 2019

Recently signed Alejandro Pozuelo should debut for Toronto FC Friday night at home against a New York City side still waiting to introduce its own new star attacker.

Pozuelo, a Spanish playmaking midfielder acquired from Belgian side Genk, was unveiled this week after prolonged transfer negotiations.

With recent experience in the Europa League and previous stops in the English Premier League and Spain's La Liga, Pozuelo is widely viewed as the replacement for Italian Sebastian Giovinco, who was sold to Saudi side Al Hilal over the winter.

Despite Giovinco's departure after a four-year tenure that saw him win the 2015 MLS goal-scoring title and MVP award, and the team win the 2017 MLS Cup, Toronto rebounded from disappointment in the Champions League in February to open the regular season with two wins.

Now they'll try to learn how to incorporate a new star on the fly.

"He'll play some Friday," TFC coach Greg Vanney said. "In terms of how much, I don't want to tip my hand too much on how we're going to approach the weekend, but we want to get him going. He's fit, he's healthy, he's a smart soccer player. He'll get involved in the right ways."

Meanwhile, New York City FC have drawn each of their first three matches as their front office also searched to fill a roster hole left by departing Spanish striker David Villa.

While they already brought in Romanian Alexandru Mitrita, he is more naturally a playmaking midfielder or a withdrawn forward than an out-and-out striker.

So City added Brazilian Heber from Croatian side HNK Rijeka last week. Only the process to secure proper work documents hasn't gone as quickly as hoped.

"Right now he's in Brazil, waiting on his visa -- I hope they arrive here next week," said NYCFC coach Domenec Torrent. "I'm very grateful to the club for this signing. For me, he will be a very important player for us. I hope he will be here next week, but you never know with the visa."

--Field Level Media