TFC’s Sebastian Giovinco ruled out for Whitecaps game

TFC's head coach explains why Jozy Altidore seems to be finally realizing his potential, and how the rivalry with the Montreal Impact can benefit soccer in Canada.

TORONTO – A leg injury will prevent Sebastian Giovinco from playing against the Vancouver Whitecaps this weekend.

Toronto FC confirmed on Wednesday morning that the Italian forward will not make the trip to Vancouver for Saturday’s match against the Whitecaps.

Giovinco flew to Italy on Tuesday to consult with his personal physician, something that he has done a number of times during his tenure in Major League Soccer. This was a routine checkup that was originally scheduled for next week. But because TFC decided he won’t play this weekend, and the fact the club is off next week, the appointment was moved up. Giovinco is expected to return to Toronto before this weekend.

“It’s something he likes to do periodically throughout the season,” explained TFC coach Greg Vanney, who added that this checkup is more about his general health, and not specifically about his sore leg.

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Giovinco, 30, suffered the leg injury late in the first half of Toronto’s 2-2 draw with Philadelphia Union last Saturday when he was tackled by defender Oguchi Onyewu. He was helped off the field and subbed out of the match.

Vanney said after Tuesday’s training session that Giovinco was questionable for this weekend’s game vs. the Whitecaps. The club decided later in the day not to bring him to Vancouver and to allow him to travel to Italy.

Toronto has a bye next week due to the international break, and will return to action on March 31 when it hosts Sporting Kansas City in its home opener. Giovinco is expected to play in that game.

With the Italian ruled out for the Vancouver match, look for Canadian international Tosaint Ricketts to take his place in the starting line-up and partner Jozy Altidore up front. Ricketts came on for Giovinco in Philadelphia, entering the game at the start of the second half.

Ricketts might not be the only new face for Toronto on Saturday. French defender Chris Mavinga, one of the club’s off-season acquisitions, could also start against Vancouver.

“I think it’s important that Tosaint and some of our depth guys do get some action; especially guys who are veterans, who are senior players who we want to keep in the mix and make sure that we’re ready,” Vanney stated.

“You never know how a season goes and you want to keep as many guys engaged and prepared and ready for the moment.”

Captain Michael Bradley lauded Ricketts’ play against Philadelphia, calling the Edmonton native “important part of everything that’s going on” at TFC.

NOTES: Right fullback Steven Beitashour remains questionable for Saturday. He sat out the Reds’ last game with a concussion and must pass the league’s concussion protocol in order to be cleared to play in Vancouver. Even if Beitashour does pass the test on Wednesday, Vanney confirmed he still might leave the defender at home this weekend… Veteran midfielder Benoit Cheyrou is currently in France due to personal reasons. He will rejoin TFC next week… Vanney also hinted that Spanish midfielder Victor Vazquez will likely only see limited action against the Whitecaps—he recently had a routine knee injection.

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