Ex-Sunderland misfit Altidore ignoring Defoe comparisons in Toronto

Toronto FC's Jermain Defoe replacement is not getting ahead of himself after a two-goal debut on the weekend.

Jozy Altidore might have made an immediate impact on his MLS return with a brace in Saturday’s season opener, but the Toronto FC striker has stressed to the club’s official website that he doesn’t want to hear about comparisons to the departed Jermain Defoe.

After going a goal down in the 19th-minute at the Vancouver Whitecaps, Altidore helped power his side to a 3-1 win over their Canadian rivals with strikes either side of half-time, helping to silence some of his critics in the process.

Linking up with fellow winter signing Sebastian Giovinco for the 32nd-minute equaliser, the imposing front man then sealed the result in stoppage-time, after strike-partner Robbie Findley had given the visitors the lead before the hour, with a cheeky panenka spot-kick.

Subsequently winning the first MLS Player of the Week award for 2015, expectations are certainly high for what he can achieve in his first season back in the States since 2008, but the US international is making an effort to temper those at this stage.

“It’s always nice to win any type of thing,” he said. “It’s an honour. I appreciate the fans for that, but we haven’t won anything [yet].”

Comparisons to Defoe will be inevitable, after the England striker spent just one disappointing season in MLS before heading to Sunderland in a swap deal for Altidore, and TFC fans are hoping that their new star man can smash his predecessor’s goal record.

The former Tottenham Hotspur forward also bagged a brace on his Toronto debut, but injuries would later limit him to 11 goals in 19 appearances, as the club missed out on a first-ever postseason appearance after a disastrous meltdown over the final months of the campaign.

The initial signs are promising for 2015 with Altidore and Giovinco on board, but the American is just focused on the weekend’s trip to the Columbus Crew at this point.

“Nothing is decided now, [but] it’s a good start,” he added. “We’re a new group of guys and I thought the second half, to be a new group and takeover the game like we did in parts and really show our quality was important. Now we hope to build on that in Columbus.”

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