Toronto FC

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TFC’s Giovinco says Toronto FC would “avoid relegation” in Serie A

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Toronto FC won’t be leaving Major League Soccer for Serie A any time soon — or probably ever — but wouldn’t it be fun if they had the chance to?

[ MORE: Landon Donovan considering U.S. Soccer presidency run ]

Star striker Sebastian Giovinco brought up the hypothetical in a recent interview, and the former Italian international believes that his current TFC side is good enough to avoid relegation in Italy’s top flight.

“There’s no doubt that [MLS] has improved,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s still not on the same level as the elite European leagues, but it all depends on the desire and the effort you put out there. Big names keep arriving and there are a lot of top quality South Americans.

“[If Toronto were in Serie A] we would avoid relegation easily, maybe finishing in mid-table.”

The comments were prompted by the Atomic Ant after Italy manager manager Gian Piero Ventura openly expressed concerns with Giovinco playing in MLS instead of one of Europe’s top leagues. The same could be said about Ventura’s predecessor and current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

It’s difficult to equate MLS directly to Serie A, or any other league for that matter, but one thing has been clear throughout Giovinco’s tenure in Toronto. He’s really good.

Giovinco has scored 54 regular season goals for TFC since joining the Canadian side in 2015, while adding 37 assists. Additionally, during last season’s playoff run — which saw Toronto advanced all the way to MLS Cup — Giovinco had four goals and as many assists.

MLS Snapshot: Altidore leads TFC past Impact, to brink of history

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP
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The game in 100 words (or less): Having clinch the Supporters’ Shield two weeks ago, Toronto FC have but one point of pride for which to play the rest of the way: the league-record points total (currently 68 during the shootout era; 67 post-shootout). After knocking off the Montreal Impact, 1-0 on Sunday, Greg Vanney’s side is now level with the 1998 LA Galaxy on 68 points. Jozy Altidore, fresh off the heartbreak of Tuesday’s defeat to Trinidad and Tobago, scored the game’s only goal in the 16th minute to give the Reds an eighth win from their last 10 games as the regular season quickly comes to a close. Sebastian Giovinco had a slightly rougher afternoon, missing a pair of penalties just before halftime.

[ MORE: MLS at Week 33 — all about playoff places, positioning ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Altidore gets a lucky deflection, slots past Crepeau for 1-0 — No assist for Marky Delgado, as the ball came off a defender and fell into the path of Altidore, but it’s the thought that counts. As for Altidore, he needed one like this, and early.

45+1′ — Giovinco misses from the spot… twice — Giovinco banged his first penalty attempt off the inside of Crepeau’s right-hand post, only to be gifted a retry after the 23-year-old came off his line early. Giovinco hit the outside of the same post this time.

51′ — Cabrera hits both posts, Mancosu can’t finish the rebound — The odds of the ball somehow not crossing the goal line on this sequence are… well, quite low.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Marky Delgado

Goalscorers: Altidore (16′)

Terrific Akinola finish keeps U.S. perfect at U-17 World Cup (video)

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Ayo Akinola’s goal off the bench helped the United States to a 1-0 win over Ghana and clinched the Baby Yanks a place in the knockout rounds of the U-17 World Cup in India.

Chris Durkin and goalkeeper Justin Garces starred for the U.S., which had to deal with a strong if not dominant 30-minute sequence from Ghana.

[ MORE: USMNT scenarios for final day of WCQ ]

The United States looked very good in the opening stages of the match, though Ghana’s electricity and danger in countering was on display.

The Ghanians finished the first half well, and carried that momentum into what was a dominant first 15 minutes of the second frame.

That included an incredible save from Garces (Kendall SC) and a subsequent block by Durkin (DC United).

Blaine Ferri ripped a left-footed wide in the 66th minute as the Baby Yanks attempted to get a foothold.

Akinola gave the U.S. its breakthrough in the 75th minute, the Toronto FC II player with a fine finish.

Durkin made a strong tackle at the edge of the final third and slipped the ball inside to Chris Gloster, who fed Akinola on the right edge of the box. Akinola bodied off his defender before scoring.

Ex-Manchester United, Toronto FC defender goes (extremely) green

Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
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Former Manchester United Academy product and Toronto FC veteran Richard Eckersley has made a major career change.

Eckersley, 28, has gone from professional footballer to owner of a zero waste shop called Earth.Food.Love.

[ MORE: Top talents of U-17 World Cup ]

These shops aim to do just what the name implies, make sure nothing from the day-to-day goes into a trash bin; They find a use for everything.

From the BBC:

In March, just over a year after the curtain fell on his football career, Eckersley moved down to Totnes with his wife and eight-week-old daughter Willow to open their zero waste shop.

Customers bring their own jars, bags, bottles and boxes and buy raw materials without packaging.

The article says Eckersley and his wife handle all details at the store, including mopping up messes. That’s a far cry from the high-flying life of a League Cup winner at Old Trafford.

Also, Eckersley has also gone vegan and looks a lot different from his playing days, growing his hair out.

Eckersley with his wife and child (Credit: thezerowasteshop.co.uk)

MLS Snapshot: TFC outlast RBNY, claim first Supporters’ Shield

Photo credit: Toronto FC / @torontofc
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The game in 100 words (or less): At long last — after eight years without ever qualifying for the playoffs, and 10 without a major MLS trophy to show for all their heartache — Toronto FC are 2017 Supporters’ Shield winners.

Greg Vanney’s side limped to the finish line this week and last, but they got there in the end, with two games to spare. The Reds completed one of the best regular seasons in league history on Saturday, narrowly outlasting the New York Red Bulls, 3-2, to win — and lift — the Shield in front of their home fans. They did so without the service of Sebastian Giovinco, who’s now missed four straight games with what the club has called “lower-body tightness.” Justin Morrow wound up the unlikeliest scorer of a hat trick to clinch a trophy, bagging goals five minutes apart not long before halftime, setting up MLS assist king (16) Victor Vazquez to score the game- and Shield-winning goal from the penalty spot just 10 minutes before full-time.

[ MORE: SKC, VAN face off for West supremacy; HOU still chasing playoffs ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

32′ — Morrow cleans up a mess in front of goal for 1-0 — Victor Vazquez played the long diagonal to Jozy Altidore, who headed the ball back across the face of goal and into the danger zone. No one in blue dealt with it, and Morrow was the quickest to react.

37′ — Morrow pokes another one home, and it’s 2-0 — Michael Bradley’s shot was blocked and deflected t0 — you guessed it — Morrow, with nothing in between him and goalkeeper Luis Robles. Decent composure in front of goal for a full back.

39′ — Veron hits right back, brings RBNY to 2-1 — slots past Bono after Tyler Adams’ inch-perfect ball plays him behind the backline.

77′ — Royer converts from the spot after Veron gets taken down — Drew Moor slid clear through Veron inside the penalty area to give away a largely needless penalty. Royer sent Bono one way and dinked the ball the other.

80′ — Vazquez converts one of his own after Altidore goes down — Aaron Long was all over Jozy Altidore who, big as he might be, had to go down under that much contact — penalty rightly given. Vazquez made it look easy.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Justin Morrow

Goalscorers: Morrow (32′, 37′, 90+1′), Veron (39′), Royer (77′ – PK), Vazquez (80′ – PK)