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Toronto FC’s Giovinco improving but still questionable for Orlando game

Giovinco says he’s “feeling good,” but coach Greg Vanney says they have to decide whether he will play, or hold off until the weekend.


Sebastian Giovinco wasted little time heading upstairs at Toronto FC's training facility after practice Tuesday, spryly taking steps two at a time.

Still the star striker is questionable for TFC's game Wednesday against visiting Orlando City. The 29-year-old Italian, who has been out since Aug. 27 with strains in his quadriceps and abductor, took part in a portion of practice Tuesday after returning from a weekend trip to Italy for treatment with his personal physician.

"He says he's feeling good," said coach Greg Vanney. "So now it's up to us to decide whether he'll play a factor in the game [Wednesday] or whether we hold off until the weekend. His trip back [to Italy] was a positive one."

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While there is little doubt that Giovinco did not make the transatlantic flight in a middle seat, a long flight would hardly seem conducive to recuperating from injuries. He left late Friday and returned Monday, following in the footsteps of English international Jermain Defoe, who also went home several times for treatment during his time in Toronto.

But Vanney had no problems with Giovinco's trip to Italy, saying he had done it before. The TFC coach called it a "positive thing" and "a reinforcement of where he's at and where we see things."

"He's in great spirits. We just talked to him two minutes ago and he's excited to get back on the field as soon as possible."

Giovinco has 16 goals and 13 assists in 26 games this season.

There will be no shortage of offensive talent on display at BMO Field even if the so-called 'Atomic Ant' is watching from the sidelines.

Toronto striker Jozy Altidore has been on a tear recently while Orlando's Cycle Larin, a Canadian, was recently named the top under-24 player in Major League Soccer by a panel filled with members of the media and staff.

A win or tie Wednesday will move Toronto [13-8-9] past the New York Red Bulls [13-9-9] back into first place in the Eastern Conference.

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The Red Bulls host Philadelphia on Saturday while D.C. United travels to Toronto.

Toronto is coming off a pair of draws against Philadelphia and the Red Bulls, but has lost only once in its last 11 matches [7-1-3].

In contrast, Orlando [7-10-13] has lost its last three games, giving up four goals in each. With 57 goals conceded, Orlando has yielded 24 more goals than Toronto in the last 30 matches. Jason Kreis' team ranks last in the league in goals allowed at 1.90 per game.

Orlando lost more valuable ground in the playoff race on Saturday when it lost 4-1 at D.C. United, which holds the sixth andfinal playoff berth in the Easter Conference.

Wednesday's game marks fullback Justin Morrow's 100th appearance for TFC in all competitions. Only Ashtone Morgan and Jonathan Osorio have made more appearances for the club.

In other injury news, Vanney says Tosaint Ricketts is healthy again, while Jay Chapman is "progressing positively."

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Toronto is 5-1-0 all-time against Orlando with the teams splitting the two previous meetings this season. Orlando has lost both previous meetings at BMO Field while being outscored 9-1.

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