November 30th 2016
MLS Eastern Conference Finals
Montreal Impact vs Toronto
Match Worn Unwashed & Signed Shirt
Did you Know?
Giovinco started off his 2016 season with an 82nd-minute penalty in a 2–0 away win over Supporters’ Shield holders New York Red Bulls, on 6 March; he later also set up Marky Delgado’s goal in added time. On 16 April, he scored the fastest goal in Toronto FC history at 57 seconds in a 1–0 away win over D.C. United, surpassing the previous record holder Reggie Lambe’s by one minute and 50 seconds set in 2012. A week later, he scored both goals in a 2–0 win away to the Montreal Impact in the 401 Derby; with these goals, he equalled De Rosario as the club’s all-time top scorer in the MLS with 28 goals in 40 appearances. Giovinco was named to the Team of the Week for his performances. On 7 May, Toronto’s home opener, he set up rookie Tsubasa Endoh for his first ever MLS goal in a 1–0 win over FC Dallas, at the newly renovated BMO Field. On 14 May, Giovinco overtook De Rosario as the club’s outright all-time top scorer in the MLS, scoring two goals and setting up another in a 4–3 home defeat to Canadian rivals Vancouver. On 29 June, Giovinco helped Toronto FC win the Canadian Championship over Vancouver 2–2 on aggregate, winning on away goals, as he scored the only goal in the first leg on 21 June. On 14 July, he won the 2016 Best MLS Player ESPY Award. In July 2016, Giovinco was included in the roster for the 2016 MLS All-Star Game. After an eight-game goal drought, Giovinco scored a hat-trick against D.C. United, on 23 July, in a 4–1 home win, also surpassing De Rosario’s previous all-time record as Toronto FC’s top scorer by two goals to 35 goals. With two goals from free kicks during the match, including his seventh in the MLS, he broke David Beckham’s record for most goals from set-pieces in the league since 2010. He was named to the Team of the Week once again for his performances, and was also named MLS Player of the Week for the first time that season. On 27 August, Giovinco was brought off the field after the later diagnosis of strains in his quadriceps and adductor in the eventual 1–0 loss in the 401 Derby with Montreal at home; although he was initially expected to be sidelined for a month, the injury was more severe than expected, and he ended up missing seven weeks of play. He finally returned to action on 16 October, against Montreal once again, helping to set up Toronto FC’s equaliser in a 2–2 away draw. On 26 October, Giovinco scored the opening goal of a 3–1 home win over Philadelphia, both his and Toronto FC’s first MLS Playoff goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs, and was later involved in his team’s next two goals; this was Toronto FC’s first ever playoff win, which enabled the team to progress to the Eastern Conference Semi-finals for the first time. On 6 November in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, Giovinco scored a hat-trick in a 5–0 away win over New York City FC, 7–0 on aggregate, to progress to the Eastern Conference Finals in an all Canadian derby against Montreal Impact. In the first leg of the Eastern Conference Final on 22 November, Giovinco set up Jozy Altidore’s goal in a 3–2 away loss to Montreal. Toronto FC later beat Montreal Impact 5–2 in extra time in the return leg at home on 30 November, as Giovinco once again set up Altidore’s goal, winning on an aggregated score of 7–5, making Toronto FC the first Canadian team to compete in an MLS Cup Final; although he was forced off in the 97th minute due to cramp in his calf, he was later declared fit to play against Seattle Sounders in the 2016 MLS Cup Final. On 5 December, he was named to the MLS Best XI for the second season in a row, despite being left off the finalists list for the MLS MVP. In the 2016 MLS Cup Final against Seattle, held at BMO Field on 10 December, Giovinco’s performance was largely stifled by Seattle’s heavy and aggressive defending, despite initially creating an early goalscoring chance for Altidore; throughout the match, he was fouled a total of six times and had several shots blocked. A scoring opportunity came in the 48th minute, but his shot was skewed wide of the near post. He was eventually substituted for Tosaint Ricketts in the 103rd minute, due to an apparent injury, and consequently, despite being the club’s main penalty kick taker, was not used in the resulting shoot-out, which Toronto FC lost 5–4, following a 0–0 draw after extra-time. Regarding Giovinco’s substitution, coach Greg Vanney stated in the post-match press conference: “He couldn’t move. He looked at me. It’s not like I take him off because I want to. I look at him and he gives me the sign that he can’t go any more and when he feels like he can’t go, he feels like he’s more of a liability to the group than anything. That’s the decision. It’s not one that I generally want to make, but we had to.”