BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 13- The Sunday contest between NYC FC and Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium was an opportunity for NYC, with a victory, to tie Toronto and the Red bulls for 5th, 6th and 7th place in the Eastern Conference standings with 23 points. The first six clubs in each of the two conferences qualify for the MLS playoffs.
Experienced NYC goalkeeper Joshua Saunders described the result in a balanced manner, “We didn’t widen the gap, but we didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.” The clubs drew at 4, which gave each one point.
Having won four of its last five matches, NYC was hoping to continue its move upward. The recent success of the club encouraged fans to flock to Yankee Stadium for its latest game. 27,533 fans filled all the available seats. Many of the fans may have come because it was expected that the English superstar Frank Lampard would play in his first MLS match for NYC, but a recent injury caused his absence.
After missing an earlier shot, NYC Captain David Villa booted in the first goal of the match in the 17th minute to excite the fans. Twelve minutes later, NYC was awarded a second goal as Damian Perquis of Toronto kicked in an own goal.
The optimistic feeling of the NYC supporters quickly dissipated as Italian international Sebastian Giovinco began an offensive assault with three goals in less than 10 minutes. The “Atomic Ant”, whose diminutive size of 5 foot 4 and 130 pounds has not prevented him from becoming one of the top scorers in the league in his debut season.
His first goal was on a penalty kick in the 33rd minute. His next two goals were scored in the 40th and 43rd minutes. NYC coach Jason Kreis spoke with mixed feelings regarding his performance, “I think Giovinco is a fantastic player, but for him to get that much space and time is incomprehensible.” The 28-year-old veteran of nine years in the Italian league, most recently with championship club Juventus has as adapted easily to play in the MLS and the United States. He was chosen MLS Player of the Week in the 13th and 14th weeks of the current season.
The other superstar on the pitch, Villa, knotted the score at 3 with a penalty kick. Both he and Giovinco have reached double figures in goals this season.
The game ended in a draw as each club scored one again before the second half reached its conclusion.
Kreis called the contest, “It’s the type of game that fans love and coaches hate, a lot of loose play.”
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