Holding a 2-0 aggregate lead entering the second leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal against New York City FC, Toronto FC and singular star Sebastian Giovinco took only six minutes to put it away.
The 5-0 victory at Yankee Stadium left Toronto FC with an MLS postseason record 7-0 aggregate tally, and the Reds advance to the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship, in which they’ll oppose Canadian rival Montreal Impact in a two-leg series.
NYCFC rookie Jack Harrison turned the ball over in his own half, and Jozy Altidore found Giovinco at the left corner of the 18-yard box. Taking a dribble toward the middle, Giovinco beat the defender to the ball and rocketed a low shot back toward the left corner and into the back of the net.
Just 13 minutes later, Giovinco took Frederic Brillant 1-on-1, blowing past him and forcing the French defender to reach out in desperation; the subsequent trip put Giovinco at the penalty spot, where he coolly converted low and left for the quick brace. The fourth hat trick in MLS Cup Playoffs history was completed with a knuckler in the 1st minute of second-half stoppage time.
Any remaining doubt was erased in the 30th, when Altidore rocketed in a third goal, pushing the aggregate score to 5-0 and forcing New York to chase six goals in the remaining hour. After halftime, Giovinco slipped a through ball to Will Johnson, who one-timed a cross to Jonathan Osorio, whose clean strike made it 4-0. Giovinco would finish off his hat trick with an extra time goal to seal the 5-0 victory.