Giovinco Pair Sinks NYCFC

Jul 30, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco (10) celebrates scoring a goal in the first half during a game against New York FC at BMO Field. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

By CHRISTIAN ARAOS

NYCFC logoA tight contest quickly turned into a rout as Sebastian Giovinco broke open Sunday afternoon’s game giving Toronto FC a 4–0 win over visiting New York City FC.

Giovinco scored in both halves from outside the area and set up Raheem Edwards for another goal while Jozy Altidore won and converted a controversial penalty to keep Toronto (12-3-7, 43 points) atop the Eastern Conference. It is NYCFC’s worst defeat of the regular season and worst road loss since a 5–1 defeat at the Los Angeles Galaxy during their inaugural season.

“It’s a missed opportunity for us,” head coach Patrick Vieira said. “We came here with ambitions but we couldn’t perform. They were too good for us…We had too many players who didn’t perform, and when you play against one of, if not the best team in the league, if your players do not perform at their best it’s a difficult game.”

With Yangel Herrera suspended, Vieira opted to give Andrea Pirlo his first start since July 5 in midfield. Though City’s midfield were clean in possession, it struggled to create chances and conceded chances whenever Toronto bypassed Alexander Ring. Ring was entrusted to cover for a deep-lying Pirlo and an advanced Maxi Moralez resulting in space being available for Giovinco and Michael Bradley to run into and drive Toronto’s attack. For his opening goal on 32 minutes, Giovinco shimmied passed Pirlo into that space before curling a right-footed finish beyond Sean Johnson‘s reach.

“I think he did really well when he was playing in Europe, and he just shows how good he is,” Vieria said of Giovinco. “I think if you give him space when he can express himself he will hurt any team. I think nobody has any doubt about his quality but if you aren’t defending well and giving him space he will hurt you.”

Vieira switched Pirlo and Ring, which kept his team competitive for the beginning of the second half. David Villa and Moralez combined to create their best chance just after the hour mark but Chris Mavinga broke up the play with a recovery tackle before Moralez could finish the 1v1 he had with Alex Bono. Moments later, Giovinco won a free kick that he lofted over the wall and into the near corner forcing Vieira to pull off Pirlo for Ugo Okoli.

City (11-7-4, 37) responded well to the goal but were unlucky to go down 3-0 eight minutes later. Alex Callens was judged to have hauled down Altidore inside the area though replays showed the two evenly and fairly contesting the ball with Altidore backing into Callens. Altidore fired the penalty into the top corner. Edwards finished the rout in the 82nd minute running onto Giovinco’s chipped pass and finishing into the far corner.

“Maybe 4-0 doesn’t describe the entire match to me but they deserved to win,” Johnson said. “We gave them opportunities and Giovinco’s first two strikes were just quality. We did some good stuff that we can build on.”

The Pigeons won a penalty in stoppage time after a handball, but Moralez scooped the effort over the bar making Sunday’s game the first time they were shut out since the season opener in Orlando. The loss keeps City in third behind Toronto and the Chicago Fire and only three points ahead of the New York Red Bulls, who they face next Sunday at Yankee Stadium.