Toronto FC: Sharing the love in dominating performance

HARRISON, NJ - MARCH 6: Sebastian Giovinco
HARRISON, NJ - MARCH 6: Sebastian Giovinco /

Toronto FC’s team goals aren’t hindered by egos. You would be hard-pressed to find a player not buying into this team in the BMO Field locker room especially after Sunday’s 4-0 win over New York City FC.

Michael Bradley just captained team USA to a Gold Cup victory, Jozy Altidore scored a terrific free kick in the final. In 2016, Sebastian Giovinco became the first Toronto FC player to win league MVP. Raheem Edwards is a youth product from Mississauga breaking on to the scene.

All played big roles in Sunday’s 4-0 win over New York City FC and all were quick to emphasize the success of the other.

This wasn’t just any win, this was a statement performance. NYCFC are seen as major contenders led by reigning MVP David Villa. But it wasn’t even close.

It was truly the Giovinco show as he glided past former Italian national teammate Andrea Pirlo and curled the ball into the NYC net. Then padded his stat as the MLS all-time leader in free-kick goals with a beauty to make it two nothing.

Although for Seba, it was anything but the Giovinco show. With less than 15 minutes left in the game, Altidore would be awarded a penalty kick for Toronto. Usually that would be Giovinco’s role and it would have given the 30-year old the hat-trick, instead he decided to pass it off to his teammate.

“I told him if he wants to take he can take, and at the last minute he kind of smiled at me and I knew that meant he wanted me to take it.” Altidore said after the game, “So I just took the ball and put it away.”

More from Tip of the Tower

This behavior is no doubt unusual in the competitive world of sports, and perhaps wouldn’t have happened in the early days of Toronto FC’s existence but today there is such emphasis on the importance of such team camaraderie.

“Usually you see guys fighting to take balls away from each other,” Vanney said after the game. “These two know the importance of each of them scoring and what that means for the team. They look after each other.”

This goes for teammates all over the field.  Edwards was set up by Giovinco to score his first MLS goal. Edwards came on when Alseth was taken off with a laceration on his foot.

One of the standouts of the day was Chris Mavinga who completed 66 passes, only Michael Bradley completed more. It was also his sliding challenge on Moralez that potentially saved the game for TFC early on.

“I was a little bit late, so I had to do something crazy because it was my mistake. If I was early and close to Drew (Moor) this would not happen. I had to take my chance and it was a good slide, someday penalty and a red card but today I am happy. Mavinga said humbly “I think so It was 1-0, if they score the game can change, it is my job to keep the score zero.”

Mavinga’s athleticism on the left-side allowed him to get back to save the day, but it also allowed Edwards a smooth transition into the game and the chance to score his goal.

“Chris (Mavinga) cleans up anything at the back, he’s so athletic so good. So yeah, it gives me a license to go forward.” Edwards said after the game.

For a young man, Edwards is already settling into the team. His attention to detail as well as his skills with a ball has made a huge difference, admitting he spends a lot of time watching film of attacking players.

“Jack Harrison likes to stay out wide as much as possible but (Thomas) McNamara likes to drift inside. It’s just about recognizing which player I was facing against and what they like to do,” Edwards said, “Wingers are one of the most dangerous players in any league so you got to read up on that and see what player you’re matched up against.”

TFC are now top of the MLS five points clear of Chicago Fire, who Toronto will play on August 19th in Chicago. It won’t be hard for them to replicate this win if they continue to buy into this competitive but selfless system.

Next: Drew Moor has no intention of going anywhere else

“That is what it is when you play with great players like that, it’s great because it forces you to be better but you also learn from them as well,” Altidore said.