Sebastian Giovinco returned to form on Saturday evening, scoring a hat-trick to help his team to a 4-1 win over D.C. United.
The 5ft 4in forward had previously failed to find the back of the net in each of his last eight MLS games, drawing criticism from some during what was the worst goalscoring drought he has suffered during his time in the US.
However, with two sublime first-half free kicks and a third in stoppage time, Giovinco deservedly won the man of the match award, whilst also taking his goalscoring tally for the season to eleven.
After the game, Giovinco was understandably in a buoyant mood and admitted the goals have taken a huge weight off his shoulders.
“Yes, I’m back,” Giovinco said after walking away with the match ball. “I’m happy to have scored. We’re still a little behind [in the standings], but it’s a good start.
“Like I’ve said before, for a striker, scoring is always very important.
“Not scoring for eight games is really difficult. I just tried to stay calm. We tried to stay together during that time, and hopefully this is going to push us forward.”
The 2015 MVP’s goals ensured his team climbed to fifth in the Eastern Conference as they look to build on last season’s performance where they reached the playoffs for the first time in their history – largely thanks to their Italian talisman – before being knocked out in the first round by fellow Canadian side Montreal Impact.
He has now scored six times in just four meetings with D.C United and also explained why he performed a golf-style celebration after finding the back of the net.
“Tonight I celebrated with golf because this week I participated in a benefit tournament,” he added. “And after scoring three goals, the golf possibly brought me the luck that I needed.
“It just happened. As a striker, [I’m] always trying to find goals.
“Maybe [I’m] apologetic that it was against D.C. that I scored so many, but it has to be done.”