The Giovinco Show Rolls in to DC

Sebastian Giovinco is the best player to ever wear Toronto FC red. By the end of his contract, he could very well prove that he is, in fact, one of the very best to ever play in MLS.

The scariest part of Giovinco’s talent and skill set is that he is progressively getting better and more comfortable with each passing game. A fantastic sign for TFC and it’s fans, a terrifying ordeal to plan against for opposing coaches.

We saw flashes of what he is capable of through the first few games of the season, but it wasn’t until the Dallas match that Seba put the league on notice. Add to that performance his ruthless free kick ability he showcased against Philly, the absolute spectacle that was the San Jose game, and fact that he has already tied a franchise record for assists in a season only 12 games in, and it becomes fairly obvious what we’re dealing with here.

We are looking at a DP who is worth every single penny of his salary, and given TFC’s revolving door history of DP’s, it’s tough to recall a time when this has happened.

I have never walked out of BMO Field after a match and been so thoroughly appreciative of what I had just witnessed as after the San Jose beating. The players were buzzing, Bradley was fantastic, Moore, Creavalle and Morrow scored, and Giovinco showed he was a class above his opponents and his teammates.

Two cross bars, countless runs and cuts across the top of the box, that set up for the Morrow diving header, and an uncanny ability to trap a ball with a single touch played anywhere in his vicinity. His presence is immense. One can only imagine what the score could’ve been with a healthy Jozy Altidore up front.

We can hope and pray that what we the fans are witnessing continues into Saturday’s match against DC and that Seba can continue to stay healthy, because everyone knows, he’s now a marked man.

The toughest part of Saturday’s match up for TFC will be in replacing the midfield general and captain Michael Bradley, who was unfortunately called into the US national team’s camp on a non-FIFA friendly date.

Why he was allowed to leave so freely with an important match approaching is bizarre, but based on the success coach Vanney seems to be having in his current formation, it’s safe to assume he’ll take the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach.

That being said, I think we’ll see the continuation of the 4-4-2 diamond midfield, but I’m not sure who would play in Bradley’s top diamond spot. Dropping Seba back from his wide forward role without having a healthy Jozy Altidore upfront would not be effective given how poor Luke Moore has played overall and how unreliable Robbie Findley has been.

Barring the chance of Oso playing centrally as has been the case in the past, we could see young Jay Chapman get his first MLS start, as was seen in TFC’s projected starting XI. For those who have never seen these social media posts from the team, the image is rarely correct, so who really knows what might happen. It would however be a great opportunity for the young Canadian to show what he’s capable of.

The current Supporter’s Shield race leaders DC United are unbeaten at home this season and are coming off back-to-back victories against Chicago and Philadelphia. DC, while dealing with injury troubles of their own, have incredible depth that has been contributing on a regular basis. A TFC squad missing one of its most influential players could be seen as easy pickings for United, especially considering their home record. TFC will have to put on another stellar performance to walk away with at least a point.

The East standings have never been tighter. With just 4 points separating 8th from 3rd, a victory for the Reds would push them above the Red Bulls into that 3rd spot, a position that is eerily similar to where they sat last season at this time. If DC is able to pick up full points, they will sit comfortably in first with a significant gap between themselves and the rest of the pack.

These two eastern conference foes last met in July of last season, and it wasn’t a pretty one for Reds fans to watch. DC beat a shorthanded TFC side 3-0 on the turf at RFK and the Reds never truly recovered. The scary part is that this seasons iteration of DC United hasn’t changed much from the dominant side that finished 2014 on top of the East. But this is a new season for TFC and the Reds will hope to continue their hot streak on the back of the diminutive Italian superstar who many are hoping is the key to finally pushing Toronto into that playoff promised land.

Rob Ditta

About Rob Ditta

Toronto born. Mississauga raised. Red Patch Boy and proud supporter of Toronto FC.

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