Heading into this weekend’s batter with Toronto FC, Atlanta United will undoubtedly be gameplanning to shutdown Sebastian Giovinco. The “Atomic Ant” is one of the best players in the league and has been since his arrival in 2015 when he was bought on a free transfer from Juventus. The Italian won the league’s MVP award and Golden Boot in his first year and followed it up with another great season to lead TFC to the MLS Cup final in 2016.
His signing was a milestone for MLS. While the league had brought in the likes of David Beckham, Thierry Henry, and Andrea Pirlo, players with worldwide recognition but on the downsides of their careers, Giovinco was the first real huge signing still in the middle of his prime. His success in MLS had led to the league becoming a more attractive destination for talented players stuck between their first/second clubs and that big jump to Europe.
While Tata Martino obviously played a huge role in luring players such as Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez to Atlanta, you can bet that Giovinco’s success was great concrete evidence to show those players in the recruiting process. His body of work in MLS is a great tool to say “Hey, look at how well this guy has done. If you can replicate it, your transfer value will be through the roof in a year or two.” — So far, so good for Almiron and Martinez. It’s all gone according to plan aside from the injury setback to Josef. When you see No. 10 in red out there for Toronto on Saturday, be thankful for him and his decision to choose MLS. If not for him, we might not have our No. 10 or No. 7.
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