In the very brief season and a half that Sebastian Giovinco has been here, he has proven not only is he the class of Toronto FC, he is the class of the MLS. Last year’s MVP broke records in combined goals and assists and although this year has proven more difficult, the results are still there. Giovinco is second in goals with 12, just one shy of David Villa’s 13. He is also tied for 3rd in the league in assists with 9 just 3 shy of leader Sacha Kljestan. Add them together and the little man is head and shoulders above everyone else with a combined 21 points. In a distant second is Ignacio Piatti from the Montreal Impact with 17.
This feat alone can be considered incredible, but the fact that Giovinco went through a slump where he didn’t score in 8 straight games just boggles the mind. How somebody can still be as high as he is in the rankings without scoring in over a third of the games is just absurd and speaks volumes about the class the Atomic Ant brings to the MLS. But having class and being classy are not necessarily the same things as this slump has shown. Now there are many reasons why a player goes into slump and no one can ever truly pin point the cause or how to get out of it. It may be mere coincidence that the slump did start towards the end of May when he was snubbed from Italy’s Euro 2016 team. A team most people, yours truly included, felt he had earned a spot with. But casting the reason for the slump aside as that is something beyond one’s control, how he reacted during it is more telling.
There were far too many times when Giovinco would try to do it all by himself and rather than pass the ball to a teammate, he was either stripped of the ball or there was a poor attempt at goal. On top of that, there were numerous times when he was visibly upset at teammates for either not passing the ball to him or for not being in the place that they were supposed to be. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that on many, if not all of those occasions, he was probably correct and that may have strengthened his lone wolf approach. As many people are aware however, trying to beat a team by yourself rarely, if ever, works out. Apart from the failure, Giovinco has also missed the opportunity to help improve his team. When you are dealing with a core of young players like Mo Babouli, Tsubasa Endoh, Jay Chapman and Marky Delgado who are all in their early 20s, publicly admonishing them may not be the best approach. Watching him place his hands on his hips or yelling at his teammates in disgust, makes Giovinco look more like a primadona than it does the greatest MLS soccer player ever.
— Jacob Landsberg (@jhlands) July 2, 2016
Over the last 2 games though he finally broke out of his mid-season slump and as we are accustomed too in the 6ix, he didn’t do it in a small way either. He netted 4 goals and 2 assists out of the 7 goals TFC scored. Now although he didn’t get an assist on Delgado’s goal, he heavily influenced it and possibly should have been awarded an assist on that one as well. By the way, he also hit the post three times in those two games too. Just incredible!
More importantly however, he did show a better willingness to pass and get his teammates involved which hopefully will result in better team play overall. There is no question that this team will only go as far as Giovinco will take them, but he can make the team better as well. If he takes the time to teach these players how he sees the game, every one of them will undoubtedly raise their skill level and the team as whole will improve. I am not sure who originally wrote this quote but I heard it recently again in (of all things) the Jungle Book movie and I find it applies to Giovinco and TFC. “The strength of the pack is in the wolf and the strength of the wolf, is in the pack.”
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