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Giovinco’s hat-trick helps Toronto FC oust New York City FC

Photo by Derik Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Derik Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — There was plenty of pomp and circumstance leading up to New York City FC’s first home playoff game on Sunday, but it took less than six minutes into the match for Toronto FC to spoil the party before securing a berth to an all-Canada Eastern Conference final.

An early score from Sebastian Giovinco set the tone for the second-leg match as it gave Toronto a 3-0 aggregate lead and an away-goal advantage before the visitors added four more to rout NYCFC, 5-0, at Yankee Stadium.

Toronto’s victory came hours after the Montreal Impact defeated the New York Red Bulls in their semifinals tilt, setting up the first-ever conference final between two Canadian sides. The 7-0 aggregate final is also the most lopsided one in league history since the LA Galaxy ousted Real Salt Lake, 5-0, in the 2014 Western Conference semifinals.

Giovinco, who did not make the final cut for MVP considerations this season, opened the scoring in the sixth minute when he received a pass from Jozy Altidore at the edge of the box before turning and firing a shot past goalkeeper Eirik Johansen. He added a penalty conversion in the 20th and capped off his hat-trick performance in the 91st, while Altidore and Jonathan Osorio tacked on goals in the 30th and 50th minute, respectively.

NYCFC, which led the league with 62 goals in the regular season, was shutout in its first two playoff matches in franchise history.

After a brief international break, Toronto FC will head to Montreal to take on the Impact on Tuesday, Nov. 22, with the return leg scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 30.


Sebastian Giovinco, who was active but held scoreless in the first leg, put on an impressive performance on Sunday by creating and finish chances for his team. His work rate on the defensive side cannot be overlooked as well, as it caused major disruption in New York City FC’s ability to buildup its offense from the backfield.


Knowing an early goal by Toronto FC would all but seal the deal, Giovinco’s early score proved to be the crushing blow that New York City FC couldn’t recover from.


After NYCFC put on a lackluster performance in the first leg, one would assume it would come out with a bigger sense of urgency and a different gameplan to try to get back in the series. However, almost the entire team — save David Villa — failed to answer the bell in front of its home fans, especially after conceding early.


  1. When NYCFC ran out Pirlo and Lampard, you knew eyes were lighting up and mouths were watering.

    Just too easy.

  2. FWIW,
    In 2016 playoffs (3 games)….
    Seba 4 goals 2 assists

    Jozy 3 goals 2 assists

    Jozy carried team when Seba missed a month…. Jozy isn’t just riding the coat tails as u kinda make it seem.

    He’s scored on every other hand for 2 seasons. How is two 13 goal seasons not good enough? lol

  3. What a thrashing this game was. I’m not sure what I’ve enjoyed more….Toronto destroying NYCFC….The Impact taking out NYRB….or Colorado putting down the Geriatric Galaxy.

    The upcoming off-season should be fun to watch as a number of the “OLD” guys retire and 2 new clubs join the league. Between the expansion draft and the retirements there should be a serious refresh of the league.

    • Yeah, they had a false start with Jermaine Defoe but really seem to solidified themselves over the long term with Giovinco/Jozy/Michael Bradley.

      Jozy in particular seems to do better when he’s being asked to do a specific job, as opposed to “be a star”. Giovinco’s got the star angle covered…all the more so because his fellow Italians don’t seem to appreciate him – or at least Antonio Conte doesn’t – so in some ways Gionvinco is cavorting in the hinterlands. Albeit for very good money. At some point the Azzurri are going to invite the Atomic Ant back…and wonder how he got to be so freakishly good without anybody noticing that he somehow got within a fraction of being the player Leo Messi is. It’ll be interesting to hear the answers.

      As for Jozy…well. Ask Jozy to do the dirty work, ask him to do a specific task within his skillset, and it gets done. Ask him to be a “star”…he really doesn’t seem to have that mentality and seems to wilt under that pressure, but with the likes of Wood/Pulisic/Green/Morris coming up with the USMNT it could be Jozy could actually experience a pretty nice resurgence as he gets older. For sure the USMNT seems to have a dearth of big effective target forwards. Jozy is one heck of an upgrade on Alan Gordon or Connor Casey if you just look at him that way. He’s doing a vastly better job of playing with his back to goal, whatever.

      Still wanna see better fitness, and a better motor. But the skillset is finally starting to look like it’s getting there.

      • “As for Jozy…well. Ask Jozy to do the dirty work, ask him to do a specific task within his skillset, and it gets done. Ask him to be a “star”…”

        Sooooo…. Treat him like a normal soccer player? Ok got it.

        U can’t coach or breed a true star. You cannot anoint a true star. Stars ar known in hindsight. Let this man play his career and don’t dwell on 15 months with a bad club and never mention the record setting championship season he had


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