Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC
Venue: Mapfre Stadium – Saturday, March 14 – 19:30 ET (23:30 GMT )
Match Odds: Columbus Crew 13/10 – Draw 9/4 – Toronto FC 15/8
Columbus Crew didn’t get off to the best start after suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat away at Houston Dynamo last weekend, although they may count themselves unlucky as they dominated possession and managed to get 18 shots away but just couldn’t find the net.Embed from Getty Images
Columbus enjoyed six consecutive wins on home soil at the end of the 2014 regular season, so they will be hoping to continue where they left off at the Mapfre Stadium against a Toronto side who recorded their first away win for seven games in MLS last time out.
Head Coach Gregg Berhalter led The Crew to the playoffs for the first time in three years last season and he will certainly be confident that he can replicate that achievement, but with such a competitive Eastern Conference, Columbus will be desperate to get early points on the board.
Greg Vanney‘s Toronto have been the subject of attention throughout the preseason due to the resources they’ve invested in the squad as they’ve brought in key players in the shape of Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Benoit Cheyrou.Embed from Getty Images
Although it’s very early days, they look to have hit the ground running and their quality was immediately evident in the first game last weekend. The club will be hoping that they continue to justify the expenditure their arrivals demanded.
As well as a significantly improved squad, recent history is also on Toronto’s side when it comes to fixtures against Columbus. The Reds won all three of the games between these two sides last season, with the most recent meeting providing an entertaining 3-2 win for Toronto back in August 2014.
Having said that, in the games before the 2014 season, Toronto had managed just two wins from 19 attempts against Columbus with The Crew coming out on top on ten occasions and drawing seven.Embed from Getty Images
It’s tightly poised and with two teams that like to get the ball down and play in an entertaining way, we could be in for a real treat.
Columbus Crew midfielder Romain Gall may not be fit for action after he missed the last game with a knee injury while Tony Tchani will miss the game after being issued with a one-match suspension for endangering the safety of an opponent in last week’s 1-0 loss to Houston. Toronto FC have no injuries or suspensions to take into consideration and are likely to field an unchanged side.
Columbus Crew’s form: L
Toronto FC’s form: W
Key Stat: The last five meetings between Columbus and Toronto have produced 17 goals, so we can hope for more of the same.Embed from Getty Images
Key Player: Jozy Altidore – The USMNT striker marked his return to Major League Soccer with two goals and looks full of confidence once again. With Giovinco, Bradley and Cheyrou orchestrating the midfield behind him, chances will inevitably come his way.
Columbus Crew 1-2 Toronto FC – Columbus were unlucky to lose last week against Houston. Toronto certainly weren’t lucky to win at Vancouver and they looked very strong. The Reds should have too much firepower for Columbus to handle.