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Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Reigning champions Toronto FC face the Columbus Crew at BMO Field on Saturday in the 2018 season opener

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew | Preview

Major League Soccer: Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew 

BMO Field – Saturday, March 3rd 2018 – 13:00 ET (18:00 GMT)

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Preview

MLS is back. It’s been 12 weeks since Toronto FC beat Seattle to be crowned 2017 MLS Cup Champions at BMO Field and the new season will begin on the same turf. The reigning champs will open the 2018 season against the Columbus Crew. It was Toronto who ended the Crew’s season last time out, but they will kick it off on Saturday afternoon. The standings are reset and 23 teams have fresh hopes of glory as we enter what should be an incredible 2018 campaign.

There have been several MLS Cup winners of past who have seen their squads weaken over the course of the following offseason. But that’s not been the case in Toronto. If anything, the Reds have strengthened. Signings like Auro, Gregory van der Wiel and Ager Aketxe should ensure Toronto remain as strong, if not stronger as they were last year.

Greg Vanney’s men come into the game off the back of their CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 win over the Colorado Rapids. That two-legged tie will have injected some early match fitness into the Toronto legs, but they will also now have one eye on next Wednesday’s quarterfinal clash with Tigres.

That could well play into Columbus’ hands. Yes, they are facing the reigning champions on their own soil. Yes, Columbus have a lot of new faces who need time to adapt. But the Crew will be out for revenge and are facing a Toronto side who will undoubtedly have one eye on the Tigres clash.

Gregg Berhalter has had a tough offseason. The ongoing doubts about the team’s possible relocation to Austin still linger, while key players such as Ola Kamara and Justin Meram have departed to league rivals. Replacements such as Gyasi Zardes and Mike Grella have come in but it might take Columbus a few games to get used to their new-look attack.

These two met in last season’s Eastern Conference Final, with Toronto advancing to MLS Cup after a narrow 1-0 aggregate win. Columbus did beat Toronto 2-1 in the first of their three regular season clashes but they haven’t won at BMO Field since 2015.

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Team News

Toronto FC

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: None

(Take a look at all Toronto FC’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

Columbus Crew

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: None

(Take a look at all Columbus Crew’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Key Stats

Toronto FC’s MLS form: N/A

Columbus Crew’s MLS form: N/A

Key stat: Columbus Crew have failed to score in their last four trips to BMO Field, losing their last three trips on the spin. However, last time they did find the net away at Toronto, they went on to win the game 2-0, back in October 2015.

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Prediction

Toronto FC 2-0 Columbus Crew: It might be a new season but the same is expected from Toronto as they look to start the new campaign by once again proving their dominance in MLS. The Reds were simply unstoppable last season, particularly at home and it will take something special for the Crew to leave with anything on opening day. Toronto are rightly favourites and it’s difficult to look past them.

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About Louis East (1299 Articles)
Editor of MLSGB.com. Premier League and MLS reporter.

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