What a game.
What a bizarre, exciting and, in the end, heartbreaking game.
Toronto FC secured a point on the road in New York City in a thrilling 4-4 draw against NYCFC. After falling behind 2-0 early the Reds would have considered a point on the road a success, but the context of the game radically shifted thanks to the exploits of Sebastian Giovinco.
The Atomic Ant put on a show at Yankee Stadium, and this was after his penalty hit the post in the 19th minute.
From then on Giovinco was dominant, registering three goals and an assist. He hit the post again in the second half after beating two New York defenders and goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Poor defending from both teams was also on display, and a late error by Warren Creavalle allowed City to equalize.
Here are three takeaways from the match.
Giovinco Tha Gawd
Toronto FC’s first hat trick in league play. The third quickest hat trick in league history. The best performance by a Red in a single half.
Giovinco didn’t stop there, hitting the post and assisting on Marky Delgado’s first TFC goal in the second half. He was the best player on the pitch, and staked claim to league MVP honours with half the season remaining.
“He was excellent,” said head coach Greg Vanney. “With open space you saw what he can do. He’s crafty, he’s so quick.”
Inexplicably, Giovinco’s efforts didn’t secure three points.
“We can’t give away four goals and expect to win,” Vanney said.
It wasn’t a banner day for defenders on either side.
Four penalties were given by referee Ted Unkel, setting an MLS record. Chris Konopka stopped David Villa’s first attempt from the spot, only to see Patrick Mullins’ rebound deflect off Damien Perquis into Toronto’s goal.
Konopka conceded the second penalty after bringing down Villa in the box. Replays indicated Villa’s intent was to go down, contact be damned, but it was a rash decision by TFC’s goalkeeper.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be a beautiful soccer game,” Vanney conceded. “It was going to be about details and not making mistakes.”
The final error was the most costly. A corner kick that appeared to be going out of bounds was flicked back into danger by Creavalle, a late substitute. Mullins made no mistake on the finish and two points were lost.
“The guys are frustrated. If the context of the game was the first 30, or 40 minutes, we would be very happy, having fought back from 2-0 down,” Vanney stated. “But when you’re at the end of the game and you’re up 3-2 and then 4-3, we need to lock that game down.”
Marky Delgado’s first goal for TFC was one to remember, though it was overshadowed just two minutes later.
The former Chivas USA youngster has impressed since returning from the U20 World Cup in New Zealand.
“From a personal standpoint I’ve been improving and I got rewarded for it (today),” said Delgado following the match.
Playing in that tournament, alongside highly touted American prospects, and at TFC with players like Michael Bradley and Benoit Cheyrou has been an excellent learning opportunity for the 20-year-old.
“Listening to the tips they give me (has helped). When Michael is here he obviously gives us the extra boost and the extra work rate that pushes everybody else. I see how he plays and I want to be a player like him one day.”