Sebastian Giovinco is up to his old tricks.
After enduring a minor midseason slump, the Toronto FC star is back to terrorizing MLS defenses. The Italian Designated Player has six goals and two assists in his last six matches, including a one-goal performance in Toronto's 3-0 win against Philadelphia last Wednesday and a brace in TFC’s 3-1 win at rival Montreal Impact on Sunday.
The two performances gave Giovinco 15 goals and six assists in 22 regular season appearances in 2017, and were good enough to win him Alcatel MLS Player of the Week honors for Week 25.
Giovinco got things started early for Toronto on Wednesday, burying a 10th-minute free kick to give TFC a 1-0 lead over the Union. The most prolific free kick scorer in MLS history, he curled a 20-yarder around the Philadelphia wall and into the top-right corner to get TFC off the mark.
After narrowly missing another free kick in the 35th-minute on Sunday, Giovinco buried a set piece in the 40th to give TFC a 1-0 lead. He walloped a 25-yard effort over the Montreal wall and inside the left post, leaving goalkeeper Evan Bush with no chance. The goal was his fifth off a free kick this year.
Seconds after Ignacio Piatti scored to pull Montreal within 2-1 in second-half stoppage time, Giovinco put the game out of reach with an absurd volley. He wriggled free at the back post and smashed a looping cross from Steven Beitashour out of the air, blasting his left-footed volley through Bush’s legs from 10 yards out.
The two-goal performance was Giovinco’s fourth of the 2017 season. His 15 goals are tied for fourth in the league and are seven shy of his MLS career high of 22 set in 2015. Considering his current pace, he’s got a chance to break that mark in TFC’s seven remaining regular season matches.
The win at Montreal extended Toronto’s winning streak to four games and moved their unbeaten run to nine. TFC are now nine points ahead of second-place NYCFC in the Supporters’ Shield race, and have a legitimate chance at breaking the all-time MLS single-season points record of 68 set by the 1998 LA Galaxy.
Giovinco and the Reds have this week off as MLS takes a brief break for international play. They’ll return to action on Sept. 9 at BMO Field against the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Alcatel MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from NASR. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.