Toronto FC's Gilberto Impresses in Major League Soccer Debut
Saturday's home opener marked the first time that Toronto FC's Designated Player Gilberto stepped onto a professional pitch in North America. The Brazilian missed out on Toronto's first game at Seattle because Ryan Nelsen didn't want to take any chances with the player on the artificial turf. However, Gilberto and Jermain Defoe showed the league what they can offer as a striking tandem, and although work still needs to be done, they looked impressive.
Jermain Defoe was clinical in Seattle as he scored every opportunity he got, and put Toronto FC up on the Sounders 2-0 in the first 24 minutes. Saturday against DC United would prove to be a bit more difficult for the England international, but he would eventually find a breakthrough in the '60th minute. Defoe's goal came off of a Gilberto rebound. Defoe may have scored the goal and be the talk of the league at the moment, but Gilberto genuinely had people in the press box buzzing about how impressed they were with the youngster.
Soccerly had the opportunity to briefly talk to the 24-year-old through a Portuguese translator after the match, about his first game in the league and what he made of the climate. BMO Field was anything but the warm and humid conditions that Gilberto is used to in South America, but he didn't seem to let those climate differences bother him much. He came off in the '63 minute for Dwayne De Rosario and left the pitch jumping up and down and getting the fans on their feet. It was evident just how quick Gilberto was all game, when De Rosario came on and could not match the Brazilian's pace up front.
In the following video Gilberto tells Soccerly about the conditions and what it was like playing his first home game in Toronto: