After netting a hat-trick featuring two direct free kicks bookended by a six-yard box strike, the Italian jetted off to join the MLS All-Stars team in San Jose. The league’s best will play storied English club Arsenal Thursday night. Giovinco may have to settle for place on the bench depending on how many minutes he’s deployed against the Gunners.
Sunday’s game at BMO is the third and final installment of the Trillium Cup this season. The rivals faced off most recently just two weeks ago in Columbus, Jordan Hamilton securing a 1-1 draw for the Reds. Back in May, the sides played out a 0-0 in Toronto and a repeat would see the Cup return to Canada on away goals.
In the second of a four-game home stretch, TFC (7-7-6) will look to build on what was perhaps the team’s strongest performance of the season against D.C. That that result came on the heels of the crushing defeat to nine-man San Jose the week previous will give Greg Vanney hope that with the return of Jozy Altidore, the addition of Tosaint Ricketts and other stars (M.Bradley, W.Johnson) to come back, this group of Reds can finally put a run of MLS form together.
Altidore and Ricketts each played only 20 minutes against D.C. but while the new Canadian recruit missed a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, the presence of both gave the side new offensive dimensions. American striker Altidore will most likely start against Columbus, with Ricketts maybe in behind. It is unlikely that Vanney would play with both Altidore and the man who has subbed for him for the past two months, Jordan Hamilton.
Columbus (3-7-10) are winless in eight games and have slid to second from bottom in the division. However, while Gregg Berhalter’s side have conceded 14 goals in the fallow period, they remain a threat offensively. Norwegian striker Ola Kamara scored his 10th goal in 14 games against Orlando last weekend, a game that also saw the return of midfield maestro Federico Higuain.
TFC have wrestled back the best defensive in the East (23 conceded), with more than a little thanks to Eriq Zavaleta, who has become a mainstay at centre back. The U.S. native, who will celebrate his 24th birthday next week, has been subject of eligibility interest from the El Salvador national team as revealed by the Toronto Sun’s Kurt Larson.
Toronto: A.Bono, E.Zavaleta, J.Williams, D.Moor, J.Morrow, B.Cheyrou, M.Delgado, T.Ricketts, J.Chapman, T.Endoh, J.Altidore
Columbus Crew: S.Clark, H.Afful, M.Parkhurst, T.Wahl, C.Ashe, W.Trapp, T.Tchani, J.Meram, F.Higuain, Cedrick, O.Kamara
Referee: Allen Chapman