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Giovinco hat-trick not enough as TFC settles for draw at NYCFC

Sebastian Giovinco 05232015 (USA TODAY Sports)



Sebastian Giovinco turned Superman to provide his side with a first-half hat-trick, but it wouldn’t be enough to earn Toronto FC all three points at Yankee Stadium.

The Italian provided a trio of goals in the first half to lead a two-goal comeback for TFC, but Patrick Mullins doomed the visitors to just one point to earn his team a 4-4 draw.

Just moments after seeing Marky Delgado give TFC the lead, Mullins provided the leveler in the 84th minute, heading home from close range for NYCFC’s fourth goal of the game. The NYCFC forward’s equalizer put a damper on a spectacular performance from Giovinco, who netted a hat-trick and assisted the fourth to push TFC out of a two-goal deficit and into the lead.

Taking just nine minutes between goals, Giovinco’s hat-trick registers as the third-fastest in MLS history. The record is currently held by Harutyun Karapetyan with a five-minute effort for the LA Galaxy in 1998.

Down two goals heading into the 34th minute, Toronto FC looked destined to settle for the team’s second loss to NYCFC in less than a month. But then Sebastian Giovinco decided to take over.

Just five minutes after surrendering TFC’s second goal of the night, Giovinco cut the lead to one in the 34th minute, atoning for a missed penalty of his own that caromed off the post 16 minutes prior.

Given another opportunity from the spot, Giovinco opted to go the same way, but to a much different result, as the shot tucked into the left-hand side-netting to kickstart the TFC comeback.

Giovinco struck yet again just six minutes later, dashing through the NYCFC defense for his second of the game and 10th of the season. Spurred on by a backheel pass from Jackson, Giovinco fought off a defender as he dashed in alone on goal, firing past Saunders for his second goal of the game.

The third came just three minutes later, as Giovinco chipped a shot up and over Saunders for his first-half hat-trick, the first in the history of Toronto FC, while giving his side a 3-2 lead. Giovinco’s  hat-trick takes him to 11 goals through the first 17 games of MLS play.

Giovinco’s trio of goals completed a remarkable comeback, as NYCFC proved dominant in the lead-up to the Italian’s flurry, even in the absence of the injured Frank Lampard, who was scheduled to make his debut before being ruled out midweek.

Just moments after missing a sitter in front of net, Villa atoned by smashing home a beautiful free kick in the 17th minute for his ninth goal of the season, including seven in seven games, to give NYCFC the early lead.

Stationed on the dead ball toward the left side, Villa took advantage of space created within the wall. Curling a free kick up and over, Villa’s effort hit the hands of goalkeeper Chris Konopka, but the pace of the shot carried the ball over the line to give NYCFC the 1-0 lead.

That lead was doubled in the 29th minute, as NYCFC took advantage of more calamity in the TFC backline to force an own goal.

After seeing a penalty called on defender Damien Perquis, Villa’s effort was saved by Konopka with Patrick Mullins darting in to possess the rebound. Mullins proceeded to bank a cross off Perquis and into the back of the net, doubling the lead through a fortuitous own goal.

That lead evaporated against the heroics of Giovinco, but it was a fellow international superstar in Villa who nearly laughed last, providing a second-half penalty kick to level the scoreline.

Villa added his second goal of the day and eighth in seven games in the 65th minute, burying his second penalty kick attempt of the evening to level the scoreline at three. The goal was Villa’s 10th goal of the season, including braces in three of the past four matches.

The Spaniard’s goal proved to be just the start of a series of late-game chaos, as Delgado smashed home a Giovinco assist in the 82nd minute, just two minutes before Mullins proved hero by earning NYCFC a share of the points.

Following the draw, NYCFC returns to action Saturday with a trip to visit the New England Revolution, while Toronto FC hosts the Philadelphia Union that same day.


  1. Too bad we won’t be able to see the likes of Altidore, Giovinco and Bradley in the CCC with Toronto. Would have been great to see some MLS team finally win it all if those 3 played.

  2. Has any franchise used a DP slot on defensive talent?
    I know we’ve seen goalkeepers, but have we seen a defender?

    • Portland DP Liam Ridgewell, Houston DP Beasley, Union DP Edu (playing CB recently), KC DP Besler, Galaxy DP Gonzalez

      • Interesting
        All but one of those is a DP slot being used to get or keep a domestic.

        Would love to see an imported shut-down CB with great feet under 33 years old, but I suspect there is more tickets to be sold with goals.

        I’m old enough to remember Chinaglia being somewhat pissed that the Cosmos spent money on Beckenbauer.

        Some people love Pele & Maradona. I live for Baresi & Beckenbauer

      • i feel you. imagine having a foreign star in each of the defense, midfield and attack. imo that should be a potentially goal of an FO

  3. The referee was PK crazy, a couple were definitely not deserving. For TFC to get a point in front of 27k fans without 2 superstars is great. NYCFC are going to be very difficult to beat very soon.

      • Yes! Awesome, let’s keep changing the rules in the middle of the season. That’s the way to make the world take us seriously!

      • Much as I agree with the general point that the mid-season rule chances lie somewhere on the the unfortunate spectrum between “bizarre” and “overkill”, can we stop using “what the world thinks of us” as a standard?

        Really, who cares? These leagues are hardly a paradigm to be following, either…. they are rife with terrible and likely irreversible financial problems that far exceed any challenge facing MLS (unless you happen to be amongst the 2-5 teams in each league that has a chance of accomplishing anything ever).

        Enough with the inferiority complex. Let’s judge ourselves….

  4. Well, if you like goals, this was the game to watch. If you appreciate good defense, you needed to avert your eyes. I was reminded of the old Amazing Mets and early on their manager, the legendary Casey Stengal, once supposedly said in desperation, “Can’t anybody here play this game?” Watching this game today made me think of that with a slight variation–Can’t anybody here play defense?

    • Completely agree with you. But the youngin’s around here have no idea who Casey Stengel is. I’m an old guy and the first Met season I can remember is 1969!

    • yeah, this game was fun for the casual fans, and may have turned some of them into more serious fans, but it was dreadful to watch as an actual football game. That having been said, Giovinco is probably the best player in the league and could be one of the best DPs and one of the few in his prime to show up in MLS. And it was a headsmacking game, so if it brought along a few new fans, all the better.

      • +1 The defending was pure abomination, but the entertainment value was exceptional…. and Giovinco definitely proved his point to whatever non-believers may have been left. A remarkable performance — not sure we will see a better goal this year than Toronto’s second.

    • Indeed. MLS defenses are simply not good enough to handle high-quality attacking players like Giovinco or David Villa if they have adequate support around them. This shouldn’t be surprising — no one is spending millions of dollars a year on a central defender (much less full back line). As the league continues to add high-quality attackers, look for more high-scoring games. Defense will only improve when the cap goes way up or some GM thinks defense is a better value play.


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