Toronto FC striker Sebastian Giovinco entered Saturday afternoon’s match with the Colorado Rapids in the midst of a three-game scoring drought. But he remained one of the key defensive assignments assigned by Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni.
“It’s imperative that we defend the right way, especially close to our goal – and minimize the chances we give [Giovinco],” said Mastroeni, earlier this week. “That’s why he’s the player that he is, because he’s able to unlock defenses and he’s able to score on those set pieces.”
Despite that caution, the Rapids were unable to contain the Italian international in Saturday's 3-1 road loss. Giovinco had a hand in all three goals for TFC, scoring a brace and assisting Damien Perquis off a corner for the the third.
“Giovinco is a top player and everyone knows that,” said Rapids midfielder Sam Cronin. “We gave him too much time, and he made us pay for it.”
Tides finally turned in the Rapids favor when Dillon Powers headed in a 40th-minute goal to get Colorado on the score sheet, but they threatened no further.
“We had some chances, but that’s been the story for us throughout the season,” Cronin said. “You can’t concede three goals on the road.”
“It is frustrating. It’s a lesson that soccer is a game of important moments. They took their three chances and we were in a tough position from there.”
Aside from Powers' strike, Colorado had little retaliation in the attack: Designated Player Kevin Doyle (abductor strain) missed the game, and Luis Solignac was finding his legs after a two-month injury hiatus.
“I think it’s unfair to expect him to be firing on all cylinders,” said Mastroeni, of Solignac. “But I think the effort was very good.”
The coach took his team to task for its decision-making.
“Too many times we didn’t foul when we could have," Mastroeni said. "[That] allowed [Giovinco] to breathe a little bit and get running room. These are all decisions you have to make when the game is flying.”
Following one of the team’s most lopsided defeats this season, Colorado acknowledged a need to reasses strategy before next Saturday's fixture against Houston.
“We’re setting up the group to go and get three,” Mastroeni said. “It’s back to the drawing board and making sure were tying things up.”