One thing has been made clear in Toronto FC’s opening 12 matches of the Major League Soccer season – the league’s MVP race goes through BMO Field.
Sebastian Giovinco’s signing turned heads in the offseason when the diminutive Italian playmaker put pen to paper in a five-year deal worth more than $7 million.
Toronto had looked more and more desperate after missing the playoffs in their first eight MLS seasons, the club needed something, to not only keep fans coming, but to foster winning.
Giovinco has done just that as he has become irreplaceable in the TFC starting XI. La Formica Atomica has contributed to 37% of the Reds’ scoring in 2015 with seven goals. As a matter of fact, Giovinco has used a shoot on sight mentality as he leads the league in shots per game with 5.1.
In Toronto’s last six matches, Giovinco has carried the team, contributing four goals and three assists. The only game in which he didn’t score or create a goal did result in a Toronto loss to Houston.
Thanks to his outstanding play, Toronto are now top of the Eastern Conference form table after picking up 13 points from a possible 18.
But worrying for Toronto coach Greg Vanney, is that however Giovinco goes, so does the rest of the team. The Reds are winless when the Italian does not score or assist a goal.
Luckily for Toronto, Jozy Altidore has been in goalscoring form after his fruitless spell with Sunderland. But outside of Giovinco and Altidore, seven goals have been scored by seven different Reds’ players.
This past weekend, Giovinco toppled DC United on his own. Two of the Italian’s seven goals came in his man of the match performance.
Watching the highlights from the game, showed that nearly everything positive was down to the Italian, while 10 other players in red tried to keep up with him. The gulf in class is immense.
Simply put, Toronto’s winning is down to Giovinco. And right now he is showing exactly what owners expected a single Designated Player to do when the “Beckham Rule” was instituted in the 2000s.
Although the Italian national team have moved on from Giovinco since his previously shocking call-ups under Antonio Conte, it hasn’t stopped many from crying out for his inclusion in the Azzurri. At least on the North American side of the Atlantic.
Yet, while national team football looks beyond Gionvinco, unless he continues this form and then some, the MLS Most Valuable Player Award does not.
No player in MLS has been as vital for his team in 2015 as Giovinco has been for Toronto. Although Sporting KC’s Benny Feilhaber is having a career season, he has the pieces around him that are also contributing regularly.
Giovinco hasn’t had the same contributions, and despite Altidore’s goals, those have all been thanks to the little Italian.
Giovinco still has a long, hot MLS summer to go through before he and the Reds qualify for their first league post-season. Based on his perfect start to MLS life, Giovinco has proven the MVP race will be centered in Toronto for the rest of 2015.
Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @Calciofarmer. Drew Farmer is a Manchester, England-based journalist/blogger that has written for Forza Italian Football and World Soccer Talk. Originally from southwest Missouri, Drew covers Italy’s Serie A, English football and USA soccer.
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