Photo by John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
There seems to be no stopping Sebastian Giovinco.
After being held scoreless for the first time in four games last time out, the Italian star provided a hat-trick Wednesday night, leading Toronto FC to a 4-1 victory over a Kaka-less Orlando City at BMO Field.
It took just 12 minutes for Giovinco to give his side the lead, drawing a penalty before converting off of his own handiwork.
Giovinco’s penalty came as a result of a foul on Aurelien Collin, and the Italian made no mistake in burying the spot kick. The forward drove his penalty attempt low and to the right, besting goalkeeper Tally Hall to give TFC the lead.
After seeing Luke Boden equalize just five minutes after his opener, Giovinco restored the TFC advantage in the 56th minute via a magnificent free kick.
Stationed 35 yards out, Giovinco smashed a curler from range, sending the ball into the upper left-hand corner for his second goal of the contest.
Giovinco’s third goal came late, serving as further insurance to push the scoreline to 4-1. Calmly sliding past Collin, Giovinco slotted his shot in near post to secure his hat-trick.
With the trio of goals, Giovinco has now scored 16 goals on the season, a club record, including eight in his last five games.
Boden’s equalizer threatened to ruin Giovinco’s early heroics, as the Orlando City midfielder provided his side’s lone finish in the 17th minute. Receiving the ball at the top of the box, Boden’s curling effort smashed into the hand of a diving Joe Bendik, who couldn’t get enough on it to keep the ball out of the back of the net, leveling the scoreline.
That scoreline was threatened numerous times throughout the opening half, as Bendik was called into action to parry a Cyle Larin effort, while Hall’s stop of Giovinco on a one-on-one kept the scoreline level just before the half.
Giovinco would get his second, however, burying the second-half free kick before Collen Warner contributed an insurance finish in the 81st minute to lock up a crucial three points.
With the win, TFC moves level with the fourth-place New England Revolution on points, despite having three games in hand.
TFC returns to action Saturday in a matchup with Sporting Kansas City at BMO Field, while Orlando City hosts the Philadelphia Union that same day.