Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Saturday, April 15 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)
Match Odds: Columbus 6/5 – Draw 23/10 – Toronto 2/1
Columbus Crew welcome Toronto FC to MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday night in the latest clash between the Trillium Cup rivals, with both looking for three vital points as they look to prove their credentials in the East.
Columbus started the season poorly before winning three-straight games and climbing to the top of the conference But they fell short last weekend as they lost 1-0 in Chicago and they need to work on finding some consistency if they are to stay at the top of the East.
They have one of the league’s most potent attacking units, with the addition of Kekuta Manneh making them even more of a threat, so it’s now about building a winning mentality as they look to get back to the MLS Cup Final this season.
Toronto FC have yet to lose a game this season but they’ve only recorded one victory in five outings so far and are capable of much better. Sebastian Giovinco got off the mark for the season in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Atlanta United but his struggle for form has meant the Reds have been finding it tough to put the ball in the net.
They will remain tough to beat this season – something Greg Vanney will be delighted with – but they need to find their attacking rhythm if they are to get back to an MLS Cup Final this year.
Three of the last five meetings between these sides have ended all square. Toronto won last year’s Trillium Cup series 4-1 on aggregate but only won one of the three games and haven’t won away at the Crew for two seasons.
Columbus Crew will be without Gaston Sauro for the season, while there are doubts hanging over Dilly Duka, Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful and Brad Stuver.
Toronto have two players ruled out as goalkeeper Clint Irwin will miss out along with Ashtone Morgan.
Columbus Crew’s form: L/W/W/W/L
Toronto FC’s form: D/D/W/D/D
Key Stat: Toronto haven’t lost away to an Eastern Conference opponent in regular season play since June 2016 (3-2 defeat at Orlando).
Key Player: Justin Meram – The Crew attacker has been in great form so far this season, scoring three goals in Crew SC’s last two home games. If he is on song, Columbus will be in a great position to go on and win Saturday’s game.
Columbus Crew 1-1 Toronto FC – Despite being seven places behind Columbus coming into Week 7, Toronto are only three points off the Crew and will fancy their chances of getting a first win in Ohio since 2014 here. However, these sides have drawn two of their last three and another close battle is expected here.