January 30, 2012
Reds sign Chilean Aceval
By KURTIS LARSON, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Toronto FC announced Chilean full back Miguel Aceval as the club’s latest signing Monday, completing a defensive overhaul that began after securing defenders Richard Eckersley and Geovanny Caicedo last week.
Aceval, a left-sided player who earned his first international cap for La Roja last September, adds depth at a spot currently occupied by academy product Ashtone Morgan, a young Canadian who will see his time reduced if Aceval has the fitness and pace to play wide left.
A prototypical South American back, the six-foot, 210-pound Aceval is steady at defence and initiates the attack with clever vision through the middle third.
Dangerous on set pieces and capable of providing service from anywhere on the pitch, should he lack the speed to play wide in Toronto’s 4-3-3 system, the Chilean will likely be paired at the centre of the park with Caicedo or a healthy Adrian Cann — a spot that was vacated by Andy Iro’s departure earlier this month.
“Miguel is an experienced defender that has a lot of potential and can be very important for our club,” said head coach and technical director Aron Winter. “Our defence needed to be addressed during the off-season and this signing complements our recent activity from last week.”
Furthermore, Aceval’s addition frees up Torsten Frings — who often played deep in 2011 to cover the club’s defensive woes — to advance deeper into the attacking third and provide additional support to the club’s wide players and target Danny Koevermans.
Aceval, 29, began his career with Chilean giants Colo-Colo before plying his trade in Uruguay following 2007. Midway through his first season with Uruguay’s Defensor Sporting, he moved back to Chile, where he remained until securing his MLS transfer this week.
With seven potential centre-backs heading into camp, Aceval’s signing sets up an interesting dynamic for what would appear to be a fight for a final first 11 spot. With each of the club’s latest additions a near lock to start come March, it’s difficult to conceive the Reds retaining everyone from last year.
After conceding an MLS-high 59 goals a season ago, the Reds look poised to clean up an area that has plagued them since their inaugural season in 2007 — and is principally to blame for the club’s failure to register a post-season appearance heading into its sixth season.