If you’ve clicked on this headline expecting to read the article of an MLS hater you’re in the wrong place. I appreciate the top American league’s fast and significant progression over the past several season and believe it has a bright future. Nonetheless, top-level players who compete in the MLS during their peak physical years are making a large mistake. The best example of this today is Sebastian Giovinco wasting his time at Toronto FC.
The Italian striker has only been in MLS for just over a season, but he has taken the league by storm. His impact has been both impressive and immediate. In his first year with Toronto, he broke the MLS record for combined goals and assists in a season while carrying his side to their first ever franchise playoff berth. Suffice it to say that for Toronto FC, it has been a marvelous signing.
The move has also been good for Giovinco to date. He was floundering at Juventus prior to the move and it has allowed him to regain his confidence. He went from a much maligned figure for the Serie A giants to a hero almost instantly. You could practically see the light reappear in his eyes and the bounce reemerge in his steps as he pounded in goal after goal in MLS.
More from Playing for 90
- Alexia Putellas reaches 400 games with Barcelona
- Everything you need to know ahead of the 250th ‘Super Clásico’
- Barcelona put five past Real Betis
- Manchester City suffer but come away with win over West Ham
- Baffling Liga MX ruling strips Puebla of a hard-earned victory
Aside from the obvious mental benefits for Giovinco, there’s also the small matter of it solidifying his status as an Italian international. He had been involved numerous times for the national team prior to his MLS time, but his status was very much in doubt before his play picked up after the move. If he had not found a successful transfer out of Juventus his international career would likely be over. There’s no question the diminutive striker owes a great deal to his MLS move. It likely saved his football career.
While the move originally saved his career, staying too long in MLS puts it at risk all over again. While the level of MLS play in recent years has improved quickly and dramatically, it’s still nowhere near the level of the world’s best leagues. Giovinco, to his credit, has been the best player in MLS during his tenure. His 22 goals finds him tied for the league lead in goals and his Whoscored.com rating also puts him first in the league. There’s little more he could do, aside from leading Toronto to a championship, that he hasn’t already accomplished in MLS.
This is why he must leave at his earliest opportunity. Giovinco, despite his baby face, is not a terribly young player. He is already 28-years-old which means he is entering his prime as a footballer. He should not spend the best years of his career in a league that he’s already proven he can dominate. Now is the time for Giovinco to push for a transfer back into one of the world’s top leagues. He doesn’t have to return to Serie A, but he should spend the best years of his career challenging himself to the fullest.
The wisest plan for Giovinco would be to move away from MLS to a top league for a few years and then stage a glorious return once his game has started to wane ever so slightly. He could come back as the conquering hero, content with the knowledge that he had pushed himself to his competitive limits without fail.
Sebastian Giovinco has already proven he is the best player in Major League Soccer. If he really wants to have the best career he can, he has to leave before it’s too late. Otherwise his career will always be defined by his years as a big fish in the relatively small MLS pond.