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Giovinco Watch #16

March 31 2017
Toronto FC () Sporting Kansas City ()
Weather: Rain, Overcast 4C/ 39F
Attendance: 27, 909

Coming into the international break Toronto FC were unbeaten after three matches (1 win 2 draws). The most recent fixture being a 2-0 win against Canadian Rivals Vancouver Whitecaps. TFC returned to BMO Field in their 4th match for their 11th home opener.The rain began under soaking conditions but that did not deter both clubs from playing attack minded football. Like the slick field conditions both clubs were using their speed, taking advantage of their formations in the first quarter hour. TFC were sloppy in the final third as a slip by new signing Victor Vazquez in the 26′ prevented a potential goal on a beautiful play opened up by Giovinco. Kansas came to play as well hitting on the counter but never really threatening. It wasn’t until the 36th minute when a save by Clint Irwin on Dom Dyer caused a hyperextenstion of the TFC keeper’s knee. Irwin was substituted for Alex Bono. TFC’s best chance of the half came in the 43rd minute when a Nick Hagglund cross found Jonathan Osorio in the box where he displayed a great touch to bring the ball down but poorly shot the ball high. At that point TFC should have been up 2-0.

In the second half the game both teams came out at each other. Rookie Raheem Edwards was dangerous down the left as Victor Vazquez found the youngster several times although his crosses into the box posed no threat. He also had two shots early in the second half, posing a serious threat. There were many positive signs from the local product, who also tracked back well. He will only get better from here.  Sporting KC is a staunch defensive team with same record and did not look out of the ordinary all night. As much as TFC threatened, Kansas City never looked too troubled. TFC in fact has a paltry 4-5-15 all time record against them. Sebastian Giovinco, although all over the pitch was fairly quiet during the match. The lone highlight being a free kick where he struck the crossbar in the 59th minute. In the 78th minute a great turn from Giovinco produced a weak shot and easy save from KC keeper Melia. Overall it wasn’t the best night for the Italian who is still looking for his first goal this season. In the 89th minute a last second clearance off the line prevented Sporting KC from stealing a win, and a three save performance by Alex Bono kept the clean sheet as both teams settled for the 0-0 draw.

TFC has made a commitment to win more games at BMO, creating a fortress-like atmosphere in the process. There will be many more home games but TFC need to be more clinical as the season wears on. A full, top heavy lineup from the start (Armando Cooper and Jozy Altidore started on the bench) will be key to this. Giovinco has yet to score but will likely break out soon. The Atomic Ant cannot let this scoring slump get to him. Overall 6 points from 4 games is decent in the early stages of the season. Much, however will be expected of the Reds if they want to make a serious push for the Supporter’s Shield this year.

Giovinco’s Key Moments

26th- Giovinco switches the play to the right side as the ball is played into Victor Vazquez who slipped before he could strike the ball point blank.

32′ Giovinco provides a through ball to Raheem Edwards all alone who can’t quite get to it in time.

59th minute- Giovinco strikes the top of the cross bar on a free kick. His best chance of the match.

Giovinco’s Key Stats (via Opta)

Shots = 3
On target = 1
Touches = 43
Passes = 26
Passing accuracy = 76.9%

Giovinco’s match rating 5.5

Lively at times and passing the ball very well, Giovinco did not really make much use with his time on the ball. He was unable to provide his teammates with the perfect ball despite creating space for them and having many touches. Lack of support from them didn’t help either. His finishing wasn’t as good as usual as has been the case this season. He came very close in the 59th when his free kick hit the crossbar. He had a shot easily saved as well later in the second half. He has not looked sharp so far this season but this will change as he gets back to form from his injury.

MVP Watch – League Stats:
Goals = 0
Assist = 0
Shots = 11
Shots on Goal =
Games remaining = 30

Giovinco’s Next Game:
Sat. April 8 vs. Atlanta FC – BMO Field, 7:30pm ET

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