Less than two weeks before numerous superstars take over Avaya Stadium for the MLS All-Star Game on July 28, a Canadian powerhouse will give the fans in the Bay Area a taste of what is to come. Toronto FC, led by reigning MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco, is set for their first-ever appearance at the Quakes headquarters. The Italian National Team mainstay will feel right at home as the Earthquakes host Italian Night on Saturday.
Giovinco made headlines in 2015 after recording the most combined goals (22) and assists (16) in a single season, edging Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski’s previous record of 27 goals and seven assists. The star forward, who has already been named an All-Star, rose to the top of Toronto’s all-time scoring list earlier this season and currently leads the team in both goals and assists.
Toronto FC’s roster is not devoid of other superstar talent either. Wondolowski’s USMNT teammates Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore have both made names for themselves league-wide and internationally, but the two are likely to miss Saturday’s match. Bradley, Toronto’s captain, will be unavailable due to a knee sprain and Altidore is currently questionable with an injury of his own.
Two other Toronto FC players may never have step foot on Avaya Stadium’s field, but they are very familiar with San Jose. Defender Justin Morrow was drafted by the Quakes in the second round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft and played for the club from 2010-13 before being traded north of the border. Fellow defender Steven Beitashour was born in San Jose and was a staple on the Quakes roster from 2010-13, making 87 appearances and scoring two goals. Both players were on hand for the team’s Supporter’s Shield-winning campaign in 2012.
The connections don’t stop there, either. Several current Earthquakes players also donned Toronto FC uniforms earlier in their careers. San Jose defender Marvell Wynne made 76 starts with the club from 2007-09, scoring both of his only career goals during that time. Journeyman Chad Barrett also played for Toronto FC for several seasons, making 65 appearances and scoring 16 goals from 2008-10. Quincy Amarikwa rounds out the group with a short stint with the club in 2012.
On Saturday, the Earthquakes will challenge Giovinco and Toronto with a superstar of their own. Captain Wondolowski is currently tied among all active players with eight goals against the Canadian club and is looking to continue that success. In the final match at Avaya Stadium before the All-Star game, Wondo and the Quakes hope the stars align for the home team.