Jamal Gay’s preseason debut for Toronto FC was a positive development for the Reds in Thursday's 3-2 loss to Houston.
The 22-year old Trinidad and Tobago international proved to be an effective target man with his sensible hold up play. He showed an ability to use his size against physically imposing Houston defenders – who had their way with a skilled but small Toronto lineup when the Reds rotated in the second half.
The striker’s strong first impression doesn’t come as a surprise to Inshan "Flex" Mohammed, the man behind socawarriors.net, an interactive fan site dedicated to all things T&T football.
“Jamal is athletic and a good all round player,” said Mohammed. “He is tall, capable of running at defenders, scoring headers and making challenges.”
Toronto has been starved for a big striker since Danny Dichio, now the coach of the senior Toronto FC Academy team, retired from playing in 2009. This is where Mohammed believes Gay could be of use to Toronto.
“I believe he will be a good target man for Toronto (if he makes the squad). Sort of like Kenwyne Jones for Stoke.”
Comparing Gay to his fellow countryman that’s an established English Premier League striker may be premature, but he is on show and early returns have been agreeable.
The new Toronto style demanded by head coach Aron Winter requires athleticism and technical ability, which works in Gay’s favour.
Gay certainly fits the bill in an area of the Toronto lineup that require attention, but is he the man to permanently fill the void? That’s one of many questions that will be answered as preseason continues.