TORONTO – It was quite the week for Lucas Janson
The 24-year-old Argentine midfielder arrived on Monday, underwent a battery of medical testing, met his new teammates as he picked up a 2018 Canadian Championship winners' medal on Wednesday, flew to California on Thursday, made his debut on Saturday against the Earthquakes and scored his first goal, touching in a lovely ball from Gregory van der Wiel in the 59th minute of a 1-1 draw.
“Very happy with how everything turned out,” said Janson, as he met the media for the first time on Tuesday at the BMO Training Ground, speaking through a translator. “It was a very quick turnaround, but a decent result. I was very happy to score. I hope it's the first of many.”
Greg Vanney too was “pleased” with Janson's first outing.
“I know he feels he's got more he can do, but he literally trained the day before, that was the only time he had been on the field with the group,” explained Vanney. “Stepped in, did a very solid job.”
“You could see he's a smart player, technically clean, understands how to move himself around the field and got himself into a good goal-scoring position,” detailed Vanney. “He was trying to link up with players. It can only get better with time, getting to know the group, and tactically a little more clarity for him, but all signs are positive. You can tell he's a worker, enjoys the running, good acceleration, quick, shifty. We've seen him in some finishing prior to the game: both feet, efficient with the ball.”
“We're excited to have him,” continued Vanney. “He's been a pleasure to have around the group, smiles a lot. In a week, he's already endured a season's worth of MLS: showed up, went through two days of appointments, the first time he met the group he was getting his medal for the Canadian Championship, the next thing he's on the flight over to San Jose, a quick game and then a delayed flight coming back, in the airport for ten hours... he's gotten to know it all; nothing but smiles on his face the whole time. Looking forward to what is to come.”
Janson's immediate insertion into the starting XI may have caught some by surprise, but with the 2018 MLS regular season quickly drawing to a close, there is little time to waste.
“We brought this guy in that we are really interested in. We're in San Jose, let's see what we have here,” said Vanney of his thought process. “I don't think we need a bunch of sessions to figure that out.”
The whirlwind week was the culmination of a three-week process that brought Janson to TFC on loan from Club Atletico Tigre in his homeland.
“I noticed a lot of interest and told my representative to make sure that he gets it done, so I could be over here,” relayed Janson. “I spoke with a friend, [formerly of San Jose and Orlando City SC] Matias Perez Garcia, played with him [at Tigre]. He mentioned that Toronto was a very good club. When that happened, my representative and I started compiling videos of Toronto. It attracted me a lot.”
“I liked the atmosphere, the calibre [of play], caught my attention,” added Janson. “Five years with Tigre, it was time for a change. When this opportunity arose, I dove right into it.”
Initially on loan from the Superliga Argentina club, Janson said: “My aspiration is to stay here.”
A versatile attacker, Janson can play a variety of positions: leading the line, in support, or out wide.
“I'm comfortable in anything from midfield up,” smiled Janson. “I've played outside, wide attacker, as well.”
Hailing from Olavarria, Argentina, what he describes as a “little town, ~500 km from Buenos Aires,” with a population of ~100 000 people, Janson is looking forward to tasting all that Toronto has to offer.
“The little I've seen: very impressed,” said Janson. “Whenever I get a moment, going to start scouring the city to see what is going on.”
Though he wasted little time in sourcing out an asado spot for some home cooking.
Janson wears the number 16 jersey, a nod to the day of his birthday, August 16.
And coming from top flight soccer in Argentina, he is no stranger to the pressure cooker that is the playoff race.
“I take it all in stride. I come from a league where there is pressure on a daily basis,” said Janson. “The goal is to make the playoffs.”
First week in the books, Janson and the rest of TFC are busy preparing for Saturday's Rivalry Week clash with the Montreal Impact at BMO Field, amidst the sights and smells of the Canadian National Exhibition.
Memorable though it was, with ten matches remaining there is little time to savour.
“I just talking about that with a friend,” recounted Janson. “In a span of a week, so many things happened, nice things. I'm looking forward to more of a chilled out week.”