Italian star Sebastian Giovinco takes another shot at BMO Field playing surface

Italian star Sebastian Giovinco takes another shot at BMO Field playing surface

TORONTO — Star striker Sebastian Giovinco took another shot at the playing surface at BMO Field on Saturday, complaining that Toronto FC has to share its stadium.

The Italian scored twice in Toronto’s 3-1 win over the Montreal Impact on Saturday night but seemed to be favouring a leg as he came off in the 72nd minute to a standing ovation.

Asked after the game whether he was hurt, Giovinco did not pull any punches.

“We continue to put sand on the grass,” he said in English. “The (CFL) Argos play (there), TFC 2 plays (there). Everybody plays on this field and every game we lose a player (to injury). This is not possible.”

Giovinco then walked away from reporters.

The stadium surface has been a sore point with Giovinco before. The elusive Italian, the highest-paid player in Major League Soccer at US$7-million-plus a year, told reporters at the conclusion of the 2016 season that while he was physically OK, changing “environmental conditions” had affected his play in the final minutes of the last three home games.

Pressed on the issue, he said he had analysed the season and concluded that unlike last year when he excelled at home, his best games in the 2016 playoffs were away from BMO Field.

“Maybe the only factor that may have contributed somehow in changing since last year is that now this year another team was playing in BMO Field,” he said through an interpreter, referencing the Argos who moved to the lakefront stadium for the 2016 season. “That may have contributed to changing something on the pitch.”

In the wake of those 2016 comments, Giovinco was lambasted by several CFL players.

Toronto installed a new grass surface in late May this year with team president Bill Manning acknowledging that his team had been “playing on a little bit of a cow pasture.”

“You have a player like Sebastian Giovinco and the analogy I use is he’s a Ferrari. But if you put a Ferrari on a muddy or shoddy field, it’s not going to drive so well,” Manning said at the time.

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