April 27, 2007 MLS Toronto FC story on Andrea Lombardo (from Metro News)
Published April 27, 2007
Canadian players excited as fans about debut
Team hungry to prove mettle for home crowd
North York native Andrea Lombardo is excited to be able to play professional soccer in his hometown.
Saturday's debut for Major League Soccer is an exciting time for all Toronto soccer fans, including some of them on the Toronto FC roster.
It's really exciting, gushes Toronto striker Andrea Lombardo, a native of North York. FC is a really good project, especially in Toronto where soccer has become one of the most popular sports.
The 19-year-old is a former reserve for Italian first-division pro club Atalanta, and also played in the third division for Perugia and Rieti.
But Lombardo couldn't resist the draw of home, where he played for the Toronto Azzurri and Woodbridge Strikers in his early teens.
The young up-and-comer hasn't played for the club yet, but said he'll be ready Saturday if manager Mo Johnston gives him the nod.
To get in the game on Saturday would be a great feeling. Growing up in Toronto and being in Toronto, waiting for this day to come when we have (an MLS) professional soccer team ...
It's a team game. If we win and I don't get on, I won't be sad at all.
And while Lombardo would be thrilled to be the first Toronto player to fill the onion bag, he says he doesn't care who does.
I just hope it comes soon, because we've already had three games. We should have scored it already. At this point, It doesn't matter who scores it. We just want to get the first goal and hopefully more will come after that and we'll get our first win.
Toronto defender Jim Brennan, who last played with Southampton in England, said playing in front of the home crowd should give them the incentive and energy to pull off their first win.
It's going to be completely different in Toronto, the 29-year-old Toronto native told MLSnet.com. It's going to be sold out, the atmosphere is going to be brilliant and we know they will be behind us right away.
AONGHUS KEALY/Metro Toronto
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