It is hard to imagine that there were would be plenty of positives in a single victory for a first place team, but Toronto FC certainly provided them in their recent 4-0 demolishing over 3rd place New York City FC. It was a score line eerily similar to the 5-0 drubbing TFC handed them in last year’s playoffs. Considering that Maxi Moralez of the visiting team missed a penalty kick in added time… there was also an eerily similar feeling of hopelessness to end the game.
More and more, TFC are doing what most Toronto teams have never been able to do and that is, excuse my rudeness, but step on an opponent’s throat when they are down. Far too often in the past, they would dominate a game only to have the opposing team (cough) Colorado (cough) score a late goal to tie or win. The Reds now are taking it to their opponents game in and game out allowing the crowd to savour the victories. Sunday’s game was no exception with positives up front, on defence and playing as a team.
The day was billed as the battle of the best players in the MLS. David Villa and Sebastian Giovinco have both dominated the league over the past couple of years with Villa winning MVP last year and the Atomic Ant the year before. The war still rages on but this battle, this battle hands down goes to Giovinco who not only scored two brilliant goals, but he also got an assist and could have easily had a third goal as well. More on that later.
One of the goals was another free kick bender, the 10th in his MLS career. This sets a new record in the league (these stats were only monitored since 2003) as he passes both Javier Morales and Jeff Larentowicz. It may worthwhile to note that both of these players have spent over a decade in MLS compared to the just two and half years for Giovinco. Some guy named David Beckham is next in line with seven.
Another positive to come out of this game was that Raheem Edwards scored his first career MLS goal on a beautiful pass (yes we are running out of adjectives) from Giovinco. The young Canadian has made himself known this year with his pace and passing up the wing so it was nice for the 29,203 fans in attendance to see him get his due as he fired a low shot into the far corner.
— Toronto FC (@torontofc) July 31, 2017
Speaking of getting their due, how about that TFC defence? Yes, we have seen them give up some bad goals or goals that (cough) Colorado again (cough) cost them points. It may be surprising then for most people to know that they have allowed the fewest goals in the MLS East for the past two years. What Chris Mavinga did on Sunday was beyond surprising, it was spectacular! Maxi Moralez was sent in on goal alone and out of nowhere, Mavinga catches him, slide tackles from behind getting all ball while not interfering with the forward at all. Morales stood there in disbelief as one would when they just witnessed a great magic trick. The best part about it was that it happened during the 60th minute when the Reds were only leading 1-0. TFC went on to score 3 goals after that, but the entire complexity of the game changes if Mavinga doesn’t make that superb defensive play.
Finally, as I alluded to earlier, Seba had an opportunity for the hat trick but didn’t take it and TFC fans should be happy. Now I will admit that if I were forced to speak about any negativity on this team, it would revolve around complaining too much or around Giovinco and how he appears at times to be selfish. No more. Late in the game Altidore was brought down inside the 18 yard box. Jozy Altidore insisted that Giovinco take the penalty kick. Rather than complete his hat trick, Seba refused and insisted that Altidore take the kick instead. It is this type of unselfish behaviour that builds camaraderie and turns a winning team into a championship one.
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