First half goal from Morrow lifts Toronto FC over Chicago 1-0
Toronto FC defender Justin Morrow, right, turns away to celebrate after scoring his team's opening goal as teammate Jordan Hamilton, left, looks on during first half MLS soccer action against the Chicago Fire, in Toronto on Saturday, July 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Gavin Day, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, July 9, 2016 9:51PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 9, 2016 11:16PM EDT
TORONTO -- Despite being on a goal drought that has extended to seven games, Sebastian Giovinco is still providing good value for money of Toronto FC fans.
Giovinco provided the assist on Justin Morrow's ninth-minute goal that was the difference as Toronto FC beat the Chicago Fire 1-0 on Saturday evening at BMO Field.
Morrow ran onto a lovely through ball from Giovinco that perfectly split the Chicago back line. The only player Morrow had to beat was teammate Jordan Hamilton. Morrow had the better angle to the shot and Hamilton wisely gave way, allowing the defender to score his second of the season.
"That's what we need to do in every game at home is score and get on the board early on," Giovinco said, through a translator. "Getting goals is good but making sure the result counts is what's most important."
Giovinco may not have found the target but he had 13 of Toronto's 25 shots and provided one of the games lighter moments in the 79th minute when he put a shot just wide, screamed and ripped his shirt from the collar to just above his navel. He had a smile on his face when the subject was brought up in the dressing room.
Another opportunity came in the 70th minute when he had a free kick come off the post.
"He had a lot of looks. Right now, it's just about calibrating his corners and the spot he wants to hit and bringing that back in," said head coach Greg Vanney. "We know it will come because we've seen it before and we know what he's capable of. He's just a little bit off, one way or another but we know he'll find his way."
The win vaults Toronto (6-6-5) ahead of two teams and back into the MLS playoff picture. Toronto is now tied with the New York Red Bulls for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 23 points.
Toronto's now reached the halfway mark of the regular season and thanks to an eight-game road trip to start the season while BMO Field was being renovated, TFC will enjoy a healthy majority of home games down the stretch.
"We have the same problems as we had last season. We're starting the games one way and then finishing in another," Giovinco said. "We're not always consistent."
Toronto had ample opportunity to add to its lead in from of 27,934 fans but despite outshooting Chicago 10-1 in the first half, the lead was only 1-0 at halftime.
Chicago didn't provide much offensively but all they needed was one chance to get things level and they very nearly got it when Kennedy Igboananike cut inside and unleashed a curling right-footed effort that rattled the crossbar in the 64th minute.
"Over the course of this year, we've talked about finishing teams and putting the games in a position where it becomes out of reach," said Vanney.
"Right now, we're not scoring loads of goals so it's important our defence remains solid and stiff the way it has the last several games."
Earlier in the day, it was announced that Giovinco was part of the MLS Fan XI for the 2016 All-Star Game. While not a guarantee that he'll be going to the All-Star Game in San Jose, where MLS will take on the English Premier League's Arsenal, Giovinco and the 11 players selected by the fans will be taken into consideration for the final 22-man roster.