Sebastian Giovinco, the Toronto FC star who has announced his intention to play in 2018, added to his decade-long MLS career with five assists on Wednesday night in the 0-0 draw against D.C. United in the MLS Cup playoff.
Giovinco, whose future at the Toronto club has been the topic of talk for months, played against D.C. United for the first time since netting the game-winner in the 2017 CONCACAF Champions League final against the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Italian star scored one goal in that 2017 MLS Cup playoff match and registered an assist in his return to the field on Wednesday.
It has been reported since January that Giovinco has asked to leave Toronto FC amid claims that team executives had allowed personal issues to get the better of the player. In April, the 31-year-old withdrew from the Italian national team in the wake of his transfer request and the subsequent “shenanigans” surrounding the Galaxy’s bid to sign him.
While it is not yet certain what Giovinco’s future holds, his MLS career in terms of career statistics may hold some weight. Giovinco (second in career assists) and his team’s overall presence in MLS Cup playoff matches is a sign that he will be allowed to continue at Toronto FC. The Italian played in seven MLS Cup playoff matches during his first seven MLS seasons, so it is not as if he is walking away from the sport completely.
On the MLS Cup sub list, that allows Giovinco to move around and gain experience in other league games without being too much of a distraction on the bench. But with Giovinco’s career total of 134 MLS regular season and playoff assists, he has set the stage for a career number of 151 assists.
Last month, Alex Morgan came through in the goal of every veteran as she helped the US Women’s National Team win their first World Cup title in 22 years. But in terms of career numbers, Giovinco is on the other side of the ledger. It is unlikely that he would be open to the kind of captaincy challenges that Morgan, Abby Wambach, or Marta (ranked second, third, and sixth in career World Cup goals, respectively) faced on the US Women’s National Team. He is also not nearly as vocal, though he can step up and try to get things going in support of his teammates. And if the unknown approach allows him to contribute as much as possible, his career numbers could soon follow.