Mo Babouli is a unique case. There is a lot of hype and hubbub that he can be a major force in Toronto for years to come. Yet, he is still rather obsolete in the grand scheme of things. He doesn’t even have a WhoScored.com profile. But that’s okay because we will tell you all you need to know about Babouli.
Babouli was called up to the senior Toronto FC side in early March this year and the homegrown product has heard nothing but praise from his coaches and team mates. There just wasn’t a lot of room for him in the starting eleven.
The UAE-born Canadian with a hairstyle you won’t find anywhere else got the start against New York City FC in front of a packed house at BMO field. Matched up next to Sebastian Giovinco in light of Jozy Altidore’s most recent hamstring injury, the former Toronto draft pick looked like what playing next to Giovinco should look like. While Altidore hasn’t been able to do much with it, the combined speed and dribbling ability of Giovinco and Babouli showed tremendous signs against a suddenly-stout NYCFC defense.
In fact, one could argue that Babouli can render Altidore obsolete. With consistent, nagging hamstring injuries, Altidore has been hit or miss with Toronto. When he clicks, he puts in a good shift on the field, but he can look lost at times. Babouli, just 23, is making serious inroads and after just one start, there is even more to be excited about.
Babouli contributed the assist against NYCFC that led to the first Toronto goal that was not influenced by Sebastian Giovinco.
“The only thing he [lacked] was a goal,” Greg Vanney said of Mo. “For [him] it’s continuing to work and [find] ways to be goal-dangerous … Those opportunities will come.”
This optimism surrounding Babouli is only going to improve. He has shown tremendous speed and dribbling ability and his pass to set up the Toronto goal was pristine. Vanney hit the nail on the head, all he needs is that first goal. Given his electricity on the field, that goal will not be a long time coming.
Babouli has an excellent opportunity. Jozy Altidore is out of the picture for two months and Toronto is looking at their draft-pick-turned-academy-product to be the solution. The combined speed and potency of Babouli and MLS’s perpetual MVP, Giovinco, can turn an already daunting attack into a versatile, multifaceted attack. Babouli was just as impressive as Giovinco against NYCFC and given time to gel and come together, they could form an excellent partnership.
Toss in the quick-footed Tsubasa Endoh and this Toronto attack is pretty clearly being geared towards elusiveness.
The results aren’t clicking on their return home just yet, but as mentioned, it will just be a matter of time before Giovinco and his newly-placed team mates start figuring each other out.