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Somewhere in Barcelona, Spain, a boy named Leo is missing his father.
The boy’s father has recently arrived on the western side of the North American continent, somewhere near Tucson, Arizona approximately 5,800 miles away.
Oh…hi there ? pic.twitter.com/fO4f7QQv2F
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) April 4, 2021
The father has traveled to reunite with a former manager who’ll depend on him heavily and to meet new teammates who will surely rely on him for guidance.
He is seen by the manager as a pivotal piece in a new team he is managing and trying to rebuild, a once-proud club trying to re-establish a winning culture.
Leo could find out as soon as Wednesday how his dad, Víctor Vázquez will fare in his reunion with L.A. Galaxy Manager Greg Vanney when he potentially debuts for his new team against the Colorado Rapids in the Tucson Sun Cup.
And it’s easy to understand why Vanney and Vázquez would want to revisit their relationship.
The pair spent two success-filled years at Toronto FC, where Vázquez showed MLS best XI form in 2017 and was the number 10 pulling the strings for a Toronto club that won the domestic treble. Vázquez ended an already impressive debut season by scoring the second goal in MLS Cup ensuring that Toronto would lift the trophy in front of their fans at BMO Field.
Additionally, Vanney has been singing Vázquez’s praises for years.
Back in 2017, Vanney said Vázquez “plays soccer between his ears first and foremost,” describing him as “selfless and humble.”
As recently as three weeks ago, Vanney called the playmaker “arguably, one of the most intelligent soccer players” that he had ever been around.
“His ability to organize the game, understand what the game needs, visions for the final pass, his leadership within our group I think is going to be important as we, again, establish the culture and the vision moving forward. His technical ability is off the charts but his mind is as fast as anyone I’ve ever seen,” Vanney told assorted media in a virtual press conference.
Formed in Barcelona’s famed youth academy La Masía, Vázquez made his first-team debut for the Catalans on April 12, 2008. His 14 years there molded him into an intelligent, creative player with the vision to see the game two to three steps ahead, be aware of where his teammates will be on the pitch, and the composure on the ball to set up and score goals.
His 18 goals and 26 assists in two seasons in MLS should make his quality beyond reproach, but after two seasons where the experienced midfielder hasn’t played much and expressed himself to be unhappy with his footballing situation, some Galaxy fans were skeptical of Vázquez’s one-year contract.
“People think that as a 34-year-old, I can’t give the same level. They’re wrong and they will see during the season,” Vázquez wrote in an Instagram conversation where he directly addressed the Galaxy fanbase’s concerns that a different type of central attacking midfielder should have been signed.
“For the fans, be calm, because this year there will be a big change in the club, and truly, they will feel proud of what we do on the pitch.”
Vázquez hopes his play will win fans over although they were expecting a CAM in another mold.
But perhaps he is exactly the type of player Vanney has had in mind for the team all along.
“The manager’s trust hasn’t surprised me at any moment,” Vázquez shared.
“I know the relationship I have with Greg and how well we worked together in Toronto and that’s why I’m here.”
Vázquez’s proven success will help this mostly inexperienced Galaxy roster start to build the “culture” that Vanney mentioned. That Vázquez understands already how Vanney communicates, wants to play, and their shared past victories will make Vázquez a vital link between manager and dressing room.
The fact that Vázquez has performed well in big games and lifted a championship trophy is something the young players will look up to and work towards.
Vázquez has also started to foster the sense of community that the Galaxy has spoken about in the lead up to this season by taking the time to answer more than one Galaxy fan dropping into his DM’s.
“I know it’s hard to have confidence because the last years have been bad, but they (fans) must trust that this technical staff is very good and the players are more committed than ever,” Vázquez assured.
Leo and L.A. fans will be waiting on Wednesday expectantly to see how the new Galaxy #7 does.
Featured Image: Tyrone Islington Photography