When the finalists for the MLS MVP award were revealed last week, it didn’t take long for the shouts of New York City bias to come out. After all, the top three finalists hailed from the Big Apple: David Villa (New York City FC), Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls).
Conspicuously not on the MVP finalist list? Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco and the Montreal Impact’s Ignacio Piatti, two of the most exciting, dazzling players in the league this season. Some called the absence of Giovinco the biggest snub in league history.
In the end, Giovinco and Piatti got the last laugh as the two talisman for Canadian clubs demolished their ways past New York’s two teams on Sunday for spots in the Eastern Conference final.
For Giovinco’s part, he led a ruthless dismantling of New York City FC on Sunday, scoring a hat trick in the return leg of the series. One of his goals included this lovely turn before he scored:
The Italian international won the MVP honor last season and seemed like a lock to be a finalist again this year. He finished this season with 17 goals and 15 assists. His role in a combined 32 goals for Toronto this season is the fourth highest in MLS history. (One of those three seasons that beats Giovinco’s total this year is actually his own total from last year, when he combined for 38 goals.)
Then there is Piatti, who exacted his own revenge in stunning fashion over the New York Red Bulls. He scored twice on Sunday and helped force the Red Bulls to lose their second straight match in a row after they hadn’t loss since July prior to that.
Check out this beauty of a brace he scored on Sunday for Montreal:
His footwork on the first goal leaves the Red Bulls defenders wrong-footed, and his finish through the legs of goalkeeper Luis Robles on the second is the perfect dagger to finish the series.
Piatti was no slouch in the MVP conversation either. He finished the regular season with 17 goals, tied for third overall with Giovinco, plus six assists.
Neither Giovinco nor Piatti are going to be the 2016 MLS MVP, but one of them is going to make it to the MLS Cup as the pair face off in the Eastern Conference finals in two weeks. For the New York teams, their Most Valuable Players just weren’t as valuable as Giovinco and Piatti, it seems.
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