More than that, the Atomic Ant, the undisputed star of this soccer season in Toronto, went home with his name in the history books, breaking Dwayne De Rosario’s record for goals in a season with his 16th of the year.
The scoring is not going to stop anytime soon if Giovinco has it his way.
For TFC, sitting in fifth with two games in hand on the Lions, Wednesday’s match was, on paper, theirs to lose. Orlando’s star playmaker Kaka was left in the Sunshine State because of injury, giving the Reds the opportunity to move four points ahead of their seventh-place rivals.
The visitors, who snapped a three-games losing streak with a wild 5-2 victory over the Columbus Crew over the weekend, were facing a Toronto side missing Jozy Alitodore (suspension) and Michael Bradley (calf injury). And without their Brazilian star, their best chance centred around Orlando rookie Cyle Larin who, with 11 goals so far this season, needed to net only one more to become the MLS’ highest scoring first-year player.
But it wasn’t Larin’s night. Wednesday belonged to Giovinco.
Five minutes later, Orlando’s Luke Boden equalized with a shot to the top corner that goalkeeper Joe Bendik will want back. Giovinco again made up for it with a stunning 40-yard free kick just after the half.
His third, record-breaking strike, which came in the dying minutes after Warner had headed a ball onto his shin and in, was icing on the cake for the Italian and a boisterous crowd of more than 26,600.
Altidore and Bradley are expected back for that game, but a third game in seven day will inevitably make for tired minds and tired legs. With playoffs looming, Toronto can’t afford a weary defensive lapse.