*Editor's note: Upon further review, statisticians have switched credit for Toronto FC's opening goal vs. Chicago from Jonathan Osorio to Sebastian Giovinco, running the Italian's season scoring total to 20 goals and 15 assists.
Sebastian Giovinco is a wizard, and with all due respect to Kei Kamara and Benny Feilhaber, he has been the league's MVP this season. He will win the award -- deservedly, and maybe unanimously -- unless he gets a suspension that puts him out for the rest of the season while one of the other two contenders goes absolutely berserk down the stretch, posting something like five goals and five assists in the next month.
I don't think that's going to happen. I think the MVP race, which was tight two months ago, is now a blowout.
The numbers tell the story. With his two assists on Saturday in Toronto FC's 3-2 win over Chicago at BMO Field, Giovinco broke Chris Wondolowski's mark of 34 combined goals and assists in a season (Wondo had 27 & 7 back in 2012). Giovinco now has
19 goals and 16 assists 20 goals and 15 assists on the year, for a total of 35 combined (I do the hard math so you don't have to, folks).
A couple of things to bear in mind: First is that only once in MLS history has anyone registered 20 assists in a season. It happened back in 2000, when Carlos Valderrama laid on 26 helpers for the Tampa Bay Mutiny. Second is that Giovinco is just one goal away from 20, which is a mark that's been hit only 16 times in league history -- including Kamara, whose 21 goals this season puts him in the lead in the Golden Boot race.
Giovinco is the first player in MLS history to register 20 goals and 15 assists in a season. No one's ever done that before, and we've got a ways to go until the end of the regular season.
Want some context for how ridiculous Giovinco's numbers are? Try this: It
will also makes him the only player in MLS history to register 20 goals and 10 assists in a season. His offensive output has moved beyond "unprecented" and into "implausible."
assist goal is embedded above. The real wizardry, though -- the deep, dark stuff that Saruman, and Emperor Palpatine, and Elan Morin Tedronai got into -- came on his first-half assist to Jonathan Osorio:
I originally thought that went in without a touch, but Osorio did exactly what he should've done by crashing the back post and throwing himself at the "cross."
Those are airquotes, because I'm 100% certain Giovinco intended that to be a shot, and I honestly think it would have gone in even without Osorio's touch. (FYI, Osorio himself believes the goal should be credited to Giovinco.)
It's just been that kind of year for the Italian international. He's the best player in the league, by the numbers and every other metric there is.
Three quick notes:
1) I thought the record-setting assist above was a little "soft" -- let's just say that's not going to win Pass of the Week. That said, watch how Giovinco first wins the ball from Matt Polster, then is strong and smart enough to shield the rookie away from Michael Bradley's run. He's a goal-scorer, he's a playmaker, he's a pulling left guard who opens up gaps for the running game and will be receiving a scholarship offer from Nick Saban soon.
2) Not even the softest assists of the season for Giovinco, though. He also got a helper on this goal from Bradley back in the spring, which is kinda ridiculous.
3) Kamara has 21 goals and 8 assists, and I bet he'll end up hitting the 20/10 mark. He's had a remarkable year -- one that would probably make him the MVP favorite in any other season. That's no disrespect fo Feilhaber, whose attacking numbers from central midfield are obviously huge, and whose defensive contributions in that spot remain the best in the league.