There have been better, more talented and more accomplished men than Sebastian Giovinco to perform in Major League Soccer.
Start with a fellow who just left MLS, Thierry Henry, who is sometimes called “King” for a reason. The majesty of his best days in the game can hardly be overstated.
In terms of team accomplishment, David Villa can stand alongside Henry; both are World Cup winners, European Championship winners and European Champions League winners.
Heck, even loafing Lothar Matthäus was a remarkable presence on the field at his best, before he signed up to practically steal money from the New York MetroStars. The point is, through 20 years of Major League Soccer, some very special talents have immigrated into MLS as their fabulous careers marched inexorably toward winter. Their body of work over an entire career trumps Giovinco’s – even if they weren’t at their tippy-top best by the time they got here.
SEE MORE: 10 things we learned from MLS gameweek 30.
But if we talk about the player who actually performed best in an MLS season, an artist whose outstanding deeds in the present, over a single season, deserves highest recognition, it’s the man who really deserves a better nickname than the slightly cartoonish moniker Atomic Ant.
At no time in Major League Soccer’s 20 years has any one man been more of a tour de force, more singularly impacting in performance and achievement. Simply put, in Giovinco’s first year in North America, the Italian international is having the greatest season witnessed yet in MLS.
Giovinco, who now has both hands on the league’s Landon Donovan MVP Trophy, is passing every single test this year for Toronto FC. First, for everything that his fellow DPs, U.S. international mainstays Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, are doing around BMO Field, it has been Giovinco’s drive, confidence, creativity and outrageous skill in the attacking third that will see TFC safely into its first playoff spot.
Toronto joined MLS in 2007. To have not made the playoffs yet in a league where postseason passage remains far too easy is testament to how badly the early management regimes screwed things up around BMO Field. For Giovinco to drag the organization past its own raging incompetence says so much about the longtime Juventus figure’s impact, one that will at once be instant and lasting in Ontario.
Toronto FC is not there yet, but official qualification is as close as the nearest cold brew around the team’s newly expanded ground at Exhibition Place. With four games still to play, only the most improbable series of goofy events would prevent it.
Giovinco is also passing the statistical test. This being a league based in the United States, where we love our stats, mileposts and sporty records, that is important.
Major League Soccer has never before seen a 20-10 man: an attacker who accumulated 20 goals and 10 assists. Consider that Giovinco is already a 20-15 man. He already passed Chris Wondolowski’s record total of combined goals and assists (34), and the little Atomic Ant still has that quartet of regular season matches remaining to pad the numbers.
A couple of other, quick points about his amazing statistical output in 2015: TFC needs all those goals and assists thanks to its bedraggled back line. As it stands, Greg Vanney’s club, clearly top-heavy in the attack, will march into the playoffs with the most goals conceded among the postseason participants.
Also, some of the other individuals who established big, statistical footprints -– Stern John’s 26-goal season, Roy Lassiter’s 27-goal season, Carlos Valderrama’s 26-assist campaign or Jason Kreis’ 18-goal, 15-assist MVP campaign in 1998 –- did so in a day when goal scoring was much higher in MLS. Plus, assists were handed out more liberally back in the day.
Suffice to say, it took 20 years for someone to assemble a 20-15 season, and it might take another 20 for someone to lap Giovinco’s single-season burst of prodigious production.
Finally, he’s passing all the eyeball tests.
Did you see his staggering work of genius Saturday against Chicago? We can add that to his collection of jaw-droppers this year, but it’s really his overall command of matches that stand out. His tireless, shrew movement has left most defenses powerless. And Giovinco has generally risen in big moments, whether that means dragging his team back from a deficit, providing the goods to secure wins or seizing the moment when the spotlight is brightest. Or maybe you don’t remember that dazzling hat trick inside Yankee Stadium on a nationally televised July afternoon?
How far he can take Toronto FC, where defense remains a work in progress, remains to be seen. But what the man has already accomplished can hardly be debated. His Most Valuable Player award is a foregone conclusion, for MLS has never seen a better single season.
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family