Red Bulls prepare for Giovinco, Toronto FC attack

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

HANOVER, N.J. – Giovinco. The name alone has sent shivers down the spines of several MLS teams this season — and with good reason.

Toronto FC’s striker has been a 5’5,” $7 million wrecking ball since joining the league this season.

“He is probably one of the best if not the best player in the league,” New York Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty said. “He is certainly the most dangerous player in the league. He accounts for 80% of their goals or something ridiculous like that.”

Giovinco is second in the league in scoring (16), fourth in assists (11), first in shots (124) and shots on goal (52) — and don’t believe that hasn’t caught the attention of the Red Bulls.

“One of the things thats amazing is how productive he is given how few touches he has in games. Some games he is limited to as few as 20 touches a game,” Red Bulls boss Jesse Marsch said. “It’s not quantity as much as it is quality. When he gets the ball, he is dangerous. He is on the move.

“It’s a full package of danger,” he continued.  “We have to  be hard on him, deal with him in numbers and not be stuck in 1v1 situations.”

And to make matters more difficult for McCarty and his teammates, Giovinco is also a central part of an attack that includes names like Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Herculez Gomez.

“Michael does so much for the team. He is dangerous and sharp and good defensively. Jozy is always a danger. He has not been the sharpest but he is a guy that can punish you at any moment. He is good in the air, good in the box, he’s very strong and good on the run,” Marsch said. “We have a big task at hand. We are preparing for them. We are dealing with it.”

The Red Bulls are in for quite a challenge Saturday night at Red Bull Arena — one that is magnified by their absences. While the team has fared well this season, they will be without defensive starters Kemar Lawrence and Damien Perrinelle, relying instead on journeyman Anthony Wallace and newcomer Karl Ouimette. for the encounter.

 

To counter that loss, Marsch has been focusing on a team mentality to defending ahead of the match, leaning on young Matt Miazga to be a back line general in the face of a highly dangerous Toronto attack.

The Red Bulls are second in the Eastern Conference with 36 points, but Toronto — a team that has never made it to the playoff rounds — are sniffing about the top three with 31 points on the season. That puts them three points behind third place Columbus.

For Toronto, there will be plenty riding on a road result in this first encounter between both clubs. For the Red Bulls, it will be another chance to pad their perch, and continue the chase of DC United at the top of the East.

New York and TFC are set to face off Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.