Injured Gilberto won’t play in TFC’s opener

Toronto FC will have two of its three designated starters to face off against the Seattle Sounders in a big test to see if the Reds can live up to their off-season hype.

SEATTLE – Toronto FC fans waiting to see what Gilberto can deliver will have to wait a bit longer.

A club official confirmed to Sportsnet that the 24-year-old Brazilian striker did not travel with the team to Seattle and won’t play in the Reds’ Major League Soccer season opener vs. the Sounders on Saturday.

Gilberto, signed to a designated contract in December, is still recuperating from a hip flexor suffered in pre-season. TFC had a bye last week as the majority of teams in MLS kicked off their regular season campaigns. The hope was that the extra time off would allow Gilberto to be fully fit for Saturday’s affair against the Sounders.

But the Brazilian’s recovery has been slow and the club did not want to rush him into duty in Seattle.

It’s not known whether he will be fit to make his debut for the Reds in their home opener next Saturday at BMO Field against D.C. United.

Although signed to great fanfare by the club, Gilberto remains a bit of mystery, in large part because he only played in one exhibition game for TFC in the build up to the new season.

The Reds are hoping he can be part of the solution to their longstanding scoring problems, and form an effective partnership with English forward Jermain Defoe, even though the two only trained together for the first time this week.

“I think the chemistry will work right away. We have no time to wait. As soon as we start playing, I’m good to go,” Gilberto told reporters earlier this week

The Brazilian has also set ambitious goals for himself, telling local media back in January that he’s aiming to score 25 goals this season.

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