TFC’s Giovinco left off Italy’s roster for Euro 2016


Sebastian Giovinco. (Kevin Hagen/AP)

TORONTO—Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco won’t be going to Euro 2016.

Italian national team manager Antonio Conte on Monday announced his 30-man preliminary roster for the European Championship than runs from June 10 to July 10 in France. Giovinco did not make the list. Neither did New York City FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo.

Conte will reveal his final 23-man squad on May 31, so barring a series of injuries or a major change of heart by the Italian manager between now and then, Giovinco won’t be competing for the Azzurri in France.

The omission is a big blow for Giovinco, who is widely considered the best player in Major League Soccer. He won last year’s Most Valuable Player award by recording one of the best individual seasons in league history (highlighted by his 22 goals), and he has eight goals and five assists through the first 12 matches of the current campaign.

With 30 goals and 21 assists in 43 MLS matches, he is the fastest player in league history to have a hand in 50 goals (goals and assists), beating the previous record held by Robbie Keane who did it in 48 matches. Incredibly, he has scored or assisted on 51 of TFC’s 72 league goals since coming to MLS in 2015.

Giovinco, 29, has one goal and 23 caps for Italy, with his last appearances for his country coming in a pair of Euro qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Norway in October. The game against Norway was in Rome—he flew back to Toronto after the match and played for TFC the very next night, scoring an incredible goal that helped the Reds win and clinch their first ever playoff berth.

No doubt his Toronto teammates and coaches will be disappointed for him that he won’t be going to Euro. But there’s no denying that this is a big boost for TFC, especially with captain Michael Bradley away with the U.S. national team at the Copa America for the next month or so, and Jozy Altidore sidelined for six to eight weeks with a hamstring injury.

The Reds would’ve been without all three of their designated players at the same time had Giovinco been called up for Euro duty. It would also have left Toronto with a major problem up front—without both Giovinco and Altidore available, the team’s attacking depth would have been tested.

Toronto FC returns to action on Saturday with a road game vs. the New York Red Bulls.

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