Growing up playing in the Barcelona youth academy with great players like Lionel Messi, Cesc Fàbregas, and Gerard Piqué, winning is paramount. While Victor Vazquez didn’t have the same international success of Messi, Fabregas, or Pique at Barcelona, he did find ways to win.
Vazquez is a former Belgian league player of the year and Belgian Cup champion in the 2014-15 season. The Spaniard was brought to Toronto FC to be the missing piece of the puzzle in attack that TFC were missing in their run to the MLS Cup Final in 2016.
While he may not be Messi, however, Vazquez has that ability and skill to take control of games with his soccer IQ and his ability to make passes that most players wouldn’t be able to make. He has a great sense of vision and poise, especially in big situations. In his first season with Toronto, he did nothing but win en route to the best season in MLS history.
TFC completed the domestic treble, the first ever in the MLS. They also set the record for most wins in a season (20) and points (69) while on their way to the franchise’s first ever MLS Cup. No one has had a bigger impact on a squad in their first season with the team like Vazquez did.
His ability to break down defenses with his patience and passing was a major addition to a team that lacked that going forward the season prior. When he was on the ball you just had the feeling something big was going to come out of it, and for the most part it did.
Vazquez was billed as a playmaker with great soccer ability, and boy oh boy did he not disappoint. He registered 16 assists on the season finishing second in the MLS in his first season with the team. According to Whoscored.com, Vazquez averaged 2.5 key passes per game and never had a pass completion percentage below 74% on the season.
He wasn’t only making passes, either; he also was able to slot in 10 goals including playoffs — none bigger then the goal he scored in the MLS Cup Final to give Toronto a 2-0 lead and put the game firmly out of reach (but who are we kidding, that game was out of reach from the moment it started).
Apart from his statistics, he has helped the big guy Jozy Altidore the most. Although staying healthy all season was a key factor in Altidore’s success, so was the addition of Vazquez and his passing ability.
Vazquez made a lot of key passes to the big “Toronto til I die” forward, but none were as perfect — and by perfect we mean PERFECTION, like a magician nailing his final trick — as the ball he played to Altidore against Columbus Crew in the Eastern Final. Plays like that were what put Vazquez up there as one of the best playmakers in MLS and Toronto are glad they were the ones able to sign the Spaniard.
What makes Vazquez so good is the fact that even though teams tried to stop him, they couldn’t. Teams will game-plan next season to try and stop him from supplying balls to Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco, but he’ll figure a way to do what he does best.
With Toronto winning all that they could in his first season, Vazquez will now have his sights set on continuing their winning ways in the CONCACAF Champions League. If Toronto is able to become the first team in MLS to complete the daunting task of knocking off the Mexicans, they would go down as the best team in MLS history.
Basically, Vazquez is one of the main reasons (if not the main reason) as to why Toronto had so much success in 2017. One man has made such a major change to a team that was built for greatness. For now though, Victor Vazquez and Toronto FC (in the words of Jozy Altidore) have “the 6 on a wave,” and they’ll hope to ride that wave into a Champions League title.