Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew SC vs. Toronto FC
Venue: Mapfre Stadium – Wednesday, July 13 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: Columbus 19/20 – Draw 5/2 – Toronto 14/5
The Crew come into the game in terrible form. They sit ninth in the East, six points off the playoffs and need to pick up over their final 17 games to have a chance of making the playoffs.
They enter Wednesday’s match off the back of Saturday’s 3-1 loss to New England and have now gone five games without a win, losing three of them.
Gregg Berhalter knows his side stand a better chance of earning victory at home, with the Crew currently unbeaten in six in front of their own fans. But he is under pressure to get his side on song and failure to win on Wednesday would leave Columbus with an ever-bigger mountain to climb.
Toronto are in a better position than the Crew to push on and challenge at the top end of the Eastern Conference, but need to make improvements themselves too.
Their 1-0 win against Chicago on Saturday was their first in three and helped them up to fifth place but they must work on being more consistent.
The Reds have only won back-to-back games on one occasion this season and that came back in April so Greg Vanney’s men must pick up wins on a more regular basis if they are to guarantee a better end to the term than last year’s sixth-placed finish.
This is the ninth season that these two rivals have battled for the Trillium Cup series. The Crew hold the advantage, having won the series in six of the past eight seasons, and are currently on a four-game unbeaten run against the Reds.
Columbus will remain without Matt Pacifici, Gaston Sauro and Federico Higuain, while Connor Casey and Cedrick Mabwati are both still doubts. Tyson Wahl will return to the squad after serving his one-game suspension on Saturday and may come in for Chad Barson at the back.
Toronto FC still have six injury worries heading into Wednesday’s match. Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Daniel Lovitz, Ashtone Morgan, Clint Irwin and Will Johnson all remain sidelined. Jordan Hamilton is likely to lineup alongside Sebastian Giovinco once again in attack.
Columbus Crew’s last five: L/D/D/L/L
Toronto’s last five: L/W/L/D/W
Key Stat: Columbus are unbeaten in their last seven home matches in MLS (W3 D4).
Key Player: Ola Kamara – The Crew forward has adapted well to life in Columbus this season, scoring eight goals in just seven starts. He has four in his last three and is always a threat, regardless of how well his teammates play. The Crew have not lost at home when he has played this season and he’ll want that record to continue after Wednesday’s game.
Columbus Crew 1-1 Toronto FC – A close-fought battle is expected on Wednesday between these Eastern Conference rivals. Toronto are the team in better form but they have struggled against Columbus in recent times, and the hosts are a more solid outfit at home than on the road. They drew 0-0 in the reverse fixture back in May and another draw could be on the cards here.