With Goals Like These, Italy Must Bring Back Sebastian Giovinco
Major League Soccer may be a retirement home for some, but David Villa affirmed last week you can still factor into one of the best national teams in the world while plying your trade in MLS.
So why can’t Sebastian Giovinco get a recall from Italy?
Villa earned a spot on the Spanish roster for the two upcoming World Cup qualifiers after starting the season with 19 league goals for New York City FC. These aren’t throw-away qualifiers either; Spain faces Italy for first place in UEFA Group G on Saturday.
Those same Italians could use similar help from another striker in fine goal-scoring form in MLS. Giovinco has 15 goals and six assists in 22 matches for Toronto FC. Although not quite as blistering as his form over the two previous seasons (39 goals, 31 assists), Seba is an attacker at the top of his game, including two more goals on Sunday.
Villa was chosen for Spain by Julen Lopetegui alongside strikers Iago Aspas, Alvaro Morata and Vitolo, none of whom are must-start players. Given Diego Costa’s current contract situation at Chelsea, it was no surprise he was left off the Spain squad. Villa’s recall was a bit of a surprise given the 35-year-old hasn’t appeared for La Roja in three years, but undoubtedly deserved for the country’s all-time leading scorer.
Likewise for Italy, the forwards called in by manager Giampiero Ventura do not inspire confidence, with the exception of Ciro Immobile. Eder has played all of seven minutes this season for Inter Milan, Manolo Gabbiadini has yet to last a full 90 minutes with Southampton and Andrea Belotti has just one goal to his name this season, even if it was a beauty.
Giovinco meanwhile has been pouring in goals left and right since coming to MLS in 2015, not coincidentally the last year he was called to play for Italy.
Giovinco’s goal-scoring record with the Azzurri admittedly isn’t stellar (one goal in 23 matches), but given his current unstoppable form, he can’t be much worse than the other players Ventura chose.
When Italy and Spain face off Saturday, we’ll get a better idea of which manager got it right.