Forwards Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore combined for five of Toronto FC’s seven goals in their Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals victory over New York City FC – and they’ve only just begun.
Giovinco ended any hopes of an NYCFC comeback with two goals inside the first 20 minutes of Sunday's 2nd Leg, an eventual 5-0 victory at Yankee Stadium. Altidore’s thunderous volley 10 minutes later started the rout.
Together, the duo overwhelmed NYC's defense and will force the Montreal Impact – TFC's opponent in the upcoming Eastern Conference Championship – to reconsider how they approach defending two forwards in their finest form.
“When they’re in the form that they’re in and when they’re finding each other, it’s very difficult to defend either of them in a 1-on-1 situation,” said Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney. “It requires a lot of help defending, which in the end pulls players off of other players for us.”
Both of NYCFC’s centerbacks found that out the hard way as Giovinco turned Maxime Chanot inside-out for his first goal before cutting up Frederic Brillant and essentially forcing him to concede a penalty or chance an easy, open attempt for the Atomic Ant. Altidore outmuscled both defenders all match and was able to free up the space he needed to strike home Toronto’s third.
“As I always said, Jozy is a key player for me and the whole team,” Giovinco said. “Working with him facilitates everybody’s job and mine in particular. Now let’s refocus on the three games that are left for the MLS Cup.”
Vanney said not being an MVP finalist might have added a chip on Giovinco’s shoulder. Giovinco disagreed, but winked as his answer was translated:
“This is not a decision that can be asked to me. My job is scoring goals and providing assists, that’s what I want to keep doing for the team. Everything will be put into winning the MLS Cup – which is way more important.”