Toronto FC: Sebastian Giovinco Named MLS Player of the Month


Toronto FC: Sebastian Giovinco Named MLS Player of the Month

Aug 5, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco (10) leaps in celebration after scoring against Orlando FC in the second half of a 4-1 win at BMO Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Atomic Ant has another award to add to his collection as he has been named the MLS Player of the Month. Toronto FC striker Sebastian Giovinco won the award for his standout performance in the month of July beating out New York FC designated player David Villa for the honour. Giovinco received over 35 percent of the votes while Villa finished behind him with 22 percent. After scoring five goals and three assists in four games in July, his standout performance against NYFC, when he had a hat-trick in the first 12 minutes of the match, put him over the top. It is also the second straight month that a player on a Canadian team has won the award after David Ousted won the award with the Vancouver Whitecaps in June.

What makes Giovinco’s recent tear even more spectacular is because he has done most of it without midfielder Michael Bradley and striker Jozy Altidore. Bradley has been splitting time with the U.S. Men’s National Team and on the injured reserve because of a calf injury. Jozy Altidore only played two games at the end of July when he was sent home early by the USMNT. While both players are seen as major contributors for TFC, it is safe to say that Giovinco is the heart and soul of the team.

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Rogers Sportsnet soccer writer John Molinaro recently published an article which argues that the Italian striker should be seen as the most valuable player for a Toronto pro sports team. It is hard to disagree with this analysis because Giovinco is having one of the best single season performances in TFC history. After recording another hat-trick against Orlando FC this week, Giovinco set a TFC single season record for goals, breaking Dwayne De Rosario record set back in 2010. By the way Giovinco broke the record with six fewer games played, which is impressive given the fact that this is Giovinco’s first season in the MLS. If that stat does not impress you then maybe this particular one that Molinaro points out should.

"In total, Giovinco has had a hand in 26 of the Reds’ 36 goals this season, with 16 goals and 10 assists — or 72 per cent of the offence. Seventy-two percent!"

Aug 6, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) hits a double during the eighth inning in a game against the Minnesota Twins at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 9-3. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

To put that in perspective the Toronto Blue Jays have hit 147 home runs this season, Josh Donaldson who is arguably their best player has 30 home runs which accounts for around 20 percent. Donaldson’s 81 RBI only accounts for 14 percent of the Blue Jays 566 RBI. Now the other part to consider is that Donaldson contributes in other areas with his gold glove defence, but the fact is that the Blue Jays do not rely on Donaldson as much as TFC does with Giovinco. Even when Phil Kessel was playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs his best season in 2011-12 where he had 82 points only accounted for 35 percent of the Leafs offence.

What this says about Giovinco is that even though it is expected for him to contribute each and every game, he has one of the toughest jobs because he has to do most of it himself. Yes it is easy to say that hockey and baseball are sports that require a full team effort and one player will have as much of an impact as a player will in soccer. However, imagine where TFC would be if Giovinco was injured (knock on wood) or decided to pursue other opportunities, this season could have turned out differently for the Reds. Instead TFC will continue their push towards making the playoffs for the first time in team history.

Aug 5, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco (10) holds the game ball over his head as he leaves the field with defender Eriq Zavaleta (15) at the end of Toronto`s 4-1 victory over Orlando City at BMO Field. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Seeing Giovinco live in person against Orlando, it is easy to understand the influence that he has on the game as defenders will try to cheat so that they can stop or attempt to contain him. In a game where he scored three goals, he had a chance to score at least five. After the game fans were chanting his name as they left BMO field in full appreciation of the fact that they have one of the best players in the league. Just when it looked like the team was going to take a step back after the Jermain Defoe departure it has been the exact opposite. Another impressive note about TFC’s last game was that there were over 26,000 on hand on a Wednesday evening the place was rocking. This also coming on the same night of a Blue Jays game and we all know how popular the Blue Jays are right now. As long as TFC can find a way to cut down on the goals against, Toronto can have two pro sports teams to cheer for in the playoffs.