Sporting Kansas City vs Columbus Crew | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Sporting Kansas City vs Columbus Crew

Children’s Mercy Park – Sunday, May 27th 2018 – 18:00 ET (23:00 BST)

UK TV Coverage – Live on Sky Sports Football

Sporting Kansas City vs Columbus Crew: Preview

Sporting Kansas City welcome Columbus Crew to Children’s Mercy Park in Sunday’s lone MLS fixture. They are both in great form and so both will be looking to mark their superiority with another three points here.

The hosts come into the weekend at the top of the Western Conference. They will stay their regardless of results this weekend but will be hoping to add another three points to their tally of 24 points from 12 games.

Peter Vermes’ men have lost just one of their last 11 games and are unbeaten in three coming into Sunday’s contest. They are a really tough outfit to break down at home and so the Crew have their work cut out if they are to take points back to Columbus.

However, the visitors couldn’t arrive in much better confidence. They have rolled off three-straight wins and sit just one point behind Atlanta United at the top of the East heading into the weekend’s fixtures.

The Crew haven’t conceded a goal in any of their last four games and are currently unbeaten in six. They will be looking to frustrate SKC on Sunday, before hitting them on the break whenever possible. New York City FC executed that strategy to perfection on the opening weekend and remain the only side to have won in Kansas City this season.

The worry for Columbus is that they have now managed to take anything away from Sporting KC since 2012. They’ve lost each of their last four MLS games at SKC, conceding 11 goals in the process. Their lone meeting last season ended in a 1-1 draw at MAPFRE Stadium.

Sporting Kansas City vs Columbus Crew: Team News

Sporting KC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Jimmy Medranda (undisclosed injury).

🚑 Out: Felipe Gutierrez (sports hernia surgery), Colton Storm (ankle sprain).

Columbus Crew

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Pedro Santos (right thigh injury).

Sporting Kansas City vs Columbus Crew: Key Stats

Sporting KC’s MLS form: W/L/W/W/D

Columbus Crew’s MLS form: W/D/W/W/W

Key stat: There has never been a 0-0 draw between these sides in 20 years of clashes. Their last five meetings have had an average of 3.8 goals per game.

Sporting Kansas City vs Columbus Crew: Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 1-1 Columbus Crew: This is a really tricky one to call. Sporting Kansas City are in good form and are a real force at home. They sit top of the West for a reason and will be relishing the challenge of an in-form Crew side. But the form Columbus are in means it’s hard to see them losing. They have been solid defensively and should create problems for Sporting KC here. Score draw.

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In pictures: Sounders fail to score in disappointing draw with 10-man Columbus

It was a disappointing return home to CenturyLink Field for Seattle Sounders FC as they spent the majority of the match a man up but failed to score against Columbus Crew SC in a 0-0 draw.

The Sounders were dealt a fortunate hand 15 minutes in when Pedro Santos’s high boot caught the face of Alex Roldan, prompting head referee Hilario Grajeda to issue a straight red card after going to video review. Columbus responded in turn by substituting off Cristian Martinez for Alex Crognale and putting every man behind the ball while Seattle was in possession. Seattle struggled to break down the Columbus defence and resorted to trying to get the ball to wide positions to limited success and the attack consistently faltered in the final third.

When Seattle stole possession from Columbus, the counter-attack lacked impetus and the Crew were back with everyone behind the ball before the Sounders could get into a dangerous position. “You have to try and be more quick with the ball and find the middle of the field more quick,” said Osvaldo Alonso. “Pass the ball and try to find the forward. We played good defence and we tried to score and it didn’t happen.”

While they had limited chances in the second half, the best chances of the game came from Columbus when down a man. Gyasi Zardes had an early look that he pushed just wide of goal in the 22nd minute and in the 36th helped to create a chance for Milton Valenzuela that ended up over the bar from inside the six yard box.

With the lion share of possession and 17 shots taken to Columbus’s five, Seattle controlled much of the match but still struggled to test goalkeeper Zach Steffen. Columbus was defensively sound, putting as many men as possible in the 18 yard box to make it more difficult for Seattle to break them down. The Sounders lacked the creativity to get in between the defensive line of Columbus and spent most of their attacks probing the back four but not stretching them. “We’re disappointed in the result. It’s not good enough. I’ll make sure that we watch this tape and we work on attacking movements to try and break that final line and be a little more creative,” said coach Brian Schmetzer.

“You know we moved the ball too slow. I mean the few times when they did get into our end of the field and we won possession of the ball we need to sprint, we need to get down the field before they get a chance to get bunkered in. So we will look at that and the coaching staff will train that to make sure that we create more good opportunities.”

“I think everybody in the stadium knew we were gonna get it and push it wide and try to cross it,” said Will Bruin. “You got to find other ways to create chances and you know we just haven’t been able to do it.

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“We got to be willing to take chances. We gotta get some creativity, some flair, we got to move the ball quicker, like I said we got to pass and move we got to try things. I think we’re too caught up with playing the simple pass and you know, ‘I’m not gonna make the mistake I’m just gonna move it to the next guy.’ And you’re not gonna score like that its so easy to defend and thats a prime example tonight.

“We need to find a solution to this because if you can’t tell I’m pretty frustrated right now. We’re gonna look at film tomorrow and I mean I hope we look at ways to exploit Toronto and ways we can attack them… I just hope we can generate some goals.”

Seattle’s busy week continues as they travel to defending champions Toronto FC on Wednesday before returning to the West Coast to take on local rivals Portland Timbers on Sunday.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Atlanta United vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew SC
Venue: Bobby Dodd Stadium – Saturday, June 17 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: Atlanta 19/20 – Draw 13/5 – Columbus 5/2

Match Preview

Atlanta United welcome Columbus Crew to Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday evening for their first ever MLS clash, with the return of Josef Martinez offering a major boost to the home side.

Atlanta have picked up their form a little in recent weeks, winning a third consecutive home game with Wednesday’s 3-2 US Open Cup success of Charleston Battery. Their away form remains a major concern at this stage, but the fact that Saturday’s game is in front of their own fans will fill them with confidence.

Tata Martino’s side are still adapting to life in MLS as well as learning his tactical style of play but the signs are encouraging and the expansion side know a win on Saturday would move them back into the playoff spots in the East – for a few hours at least.

Columbus enter the weekend just four points in front of Atlanta and have lost four of their last five, including the shock 1-0 Open Cup loss at FC Cincinnati on Wednesday evening.

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Gregg Berhalter’s side are expected to seal a top six finish this season but complacency looks to be setting in at a pivotal stage of the campaign.

Crew SC have only picked up six points from a possible 24 on the road this season, so improving their away record has to be a priority for the remainder of the season.

Team News

Jacob Peterson remains out for Atlanta United although Josef Martinez is back and set for his first MLS start since the 4-0 win over Chicago in Week 3.

Columbus will be without Nico Naess, Ben Swanson and Gaston Sauro for Saturday’s trip to Georgia. Kekuta Manneh is listed as ‘questionable’ and is unlikely to feature.

Key Points

Atlanta’s form: D/W/W/L/L

Columbus’s form: W/L/L/W/L

Key Stat: Columbus Crew have lost four straight matches in MLS and the US Open Cup, being outscored 10-2 in that time.

Key Player: Josef Martinez – The Atlanta forward marked his long-awaited return from injury with a goal on his first start since March in Wednesday’s Open Cup win over Charleston. Including preseason, he now has ten goals in eight appearances for Atlanta and will look to take down Columbus here.

Score Prediction

Atlanta United 3-1 Columbus Crew – The return of Martinez makes Atlanta much more of a threat and his return should see Atlanta pick up a third-straight MLS win at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Columbus have struggled away from home but will fancy their chances of finding the net against a leaky Atlanta defence that hasn’t kept a clean sheet since April.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew
Venue: Toyota Park – Saturday April 8 – 14:00 ET (19:00 BST)
Match Odds: Chicago Fire 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – Columbus Crew 9/4

Match Preview

Chicago Fire host Columbus Crew SC on Saturday night as the two Eastern Conference rivals meet for the second time already this year following the clash at MAPFRE Stadium on opening weekend, which finished 1-1.

Chicago have yet to pick up the sort of form which some expected of them after they strengthened in the offseason. The additions of Dax McCarty and Juninho in midfield have been followed by the star signing of Bastian Schweinsteiger, all of whom should strengthen a Fire side that have been fragile too often over the past few seasons.

Having conceded seven goals so far in their four games, Chicago still have work to do defensively. However, much of this may come down to ill-discipline as the Fire have had a sending off in their last two matches. Sorting that out will instantly help their cause.

On the other hand, Columbus have won their last three on the bounce and have been impressive in doing so as they’ve scored seven times in those matches and have moved to the top of the East.

There upturn in form is particularly impressive given the fact they started the season with a disappointing home draw to Chicago before losing at Houston in Week 2.

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Justin Meram has been the Crew’s shining light in recent weeks, scoring three times in the past two games. The addition of Kekuta Manneh might have put his position in doubt, but he’s responded by turning up his form and Columbus need more of the same from him if they are to remain at the top of the conference.

Both sides look strong for different reasons and it should make for a good encounter. Chicago possess a great recent record at home, having only lost once in their last 15 at Toyota Park. Whereas, Columbus have won their last three, leaving us with what should be an open fixture.

Team News

Chicago Fire are without three midfielders for the visit of the Crew as Matt Polster (right knee strain), John Goossens (right ankle) and Drew Conner all miss out through injury. Juninho is suspended after picking up a red card in last week’s draw with Montreal.

Columbus Crew will definitely be without Gaston Sauro, as he is out for the season with a knee injury. Dilly Duka and Jonathan Mensah are both listed as questionable.

Key Points

Chicago Fire’s form: D/W/L/D

Columbus Crew’s form: D/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: Chicago have only lost once in their last fifteen home matches in MLS.

Key Player: David Accam – Ghanaian international, Accam can cause any MLS team problems with his pace. He already has a goal and an assist to his name this season and we expect those numbers to rise on Saturday night, particularly with Schweinsteiger’s vision now an extra weapon from midfield.

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Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 2-2 Columbus Crew – With Columbus on a three-game winning streak and Chicago boasting solid home form, we expect the two to cancel each other out in a score draw, although goals are to be expected as both sides will look to attack.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. Portland Timbers
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Saturday, March 25 – 19:30 ET (23:30 GMT) 
Match Odds: Columbus 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – Portland 23/10

Match Preview

Columbus Crew welcome Portland Timbers to MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday night for the first time since the 2015 MLS Cup Final in which the visitors left Ohio with the title.

The Crew will be out for revenge this time around as they look to make it back-to-back wins after getting off the mark for the season in last weekend’s 2-0 victory over DC United.

Gregg Berhalter used three at the back in that win and he is likely to stick with the system in the hope the wing-backs can keep Portland pinned back in their own half.

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On paper, this is set to be a really tough game for the Crew but the Timbers have a number of key absentees, giving the hosts a great chance of picking up three important points in front of their own fans.

Portland have looked unstoppable going forward through the first three weeks of the season, winning all three games to start the season and scoring 10 goals in the process.

They have bounced back well after a disappointing campaign last year and Caleb Porter will be aiming at winning another MLS Cup title come December. There’s a long way to go but the Timbers have everything in place to go and challenge across the board this season.

They will have to try and get the job done this weekend without Darlington Nagbe and David Guzman, who are both away on international duty, while center-back Liam Ridgewell is still out due to injury.

That leaves the away side significantly weaker but they still have the firepower of Fanendo Adi, Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco and that trio will look to hurt Columbus, especially if they opt to go with a three-man defence again.

These sides met once last season at Providence Park back on the opening day of the campaign with Portland winning 2-1. The Timbers have now won three-straight games against the Crew, including that MLS Cup final victory.

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Team News

Columbus remain without Gaston Sauro, who is ruled out for the season, as well as Dilly Duka who is struggling with a calf contusion. Waylon Francis is a doubt once again and Jukka Raitala is away on international duty with Finland.

Portland will travel to Columbus without Darlington Nagbe and David Guzman, who are both away on international duty, while Liam Ridgewell is still out and Gbenga Arokoyo is sidelined for the season. Vytas is a doubt but could start at left-back if passed fit in time.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s form: D/L/W

Portland Timbers’ form: W/W/W

Key Stat: The Timbers have won three-straight games against the Crew and have not lost to their opponents since July 2013.

Key Player: Diego Valeri – Despite the absences of some key men, Portland still have their star man available and in red hot form. Valeri has started the season with four goals and two assists and is looking dangerous everytime he gets on the ball. If Columbus fail to contain him, they could be in for a long evening.

Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 2-2 Portland Timbers – Goals are expected here between two sides that will believe they can get all three points on Saturday night. Columbus are the home side and looking to make it back-to-back wins. They should take advantage of some key absences for Portland but will likely struggle to contain the likes of Valeri and Adi in what should be an open and exciting game. Score draw.

 

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: Red Bull Arena –Sunday, October 16 – 15:00 ET (20:00 BST)

Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 4/9 – Draw 16/5 – Columbus 11/2

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls play host to Columbus Crew on Sunday afternoon in the penultimate round of MLS regular season fixtures.

The Red Bulls are in contention to win the Eastern Conference, but are level on points with rivals NYCFC, so their remaining two games are huge.

New York come into this tie having overcome Philadelphia in an exhilarating 3-2 home win. Their form at Red Bull Arena has been nothing short of incredible, 11 wins from 13 games.

This is a game Jesse Marsch will be expecting his side to win, but he will have his players warned that any previous result means nothing once the game gets underway.

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Columbus Crew are in 8th place, six points behind the top six and this looks like a season of disappointment for their fans.

Crew have won just twice and only picked up ten points on the road this season. That has all-but ultimately cost them throughout the regular season and they will need to rebuild and go again in the 2017 campaign.

This season has been a far cry from Crew’s 2015 campaign but they still have a huge part to play in the final standings of the 2016 season and they will have the backing of plenty of RBNY’s rivals.

Photo: @ColumbusCrewSC

Photo: @ColumbusCrewSC

Team News

New York Red Bulls still have an extensive injury list as Gideon Baah, Connor Lade, Ronald Zubar, Justin Bilyeu and Daniel Royer are all expected to miss out, while Omer Damari could feature.

Columbus Crew haven’t had much luck with injuries either, as Matt Pacifici, Ben Swanson, Cedrick Mabwati, Tyson Wahl, Waylon Francis are all out, while Federico Higuain and Conor Casey are both doubts

Key Points

NY Red Bulls’ last five: W/D/D/W/W

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/W/L/W/D

Key Stat: New York Red Bulls are on an unbeaten run of 14 regular season games.

Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – The RBNY striker has netted 21 goals this season, the same number as Villa from rivals NYCFC. He will be pushing to top the chart come the end of the campaign.

MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC - Bradley Wright-Phillips Celebrates

Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew – Red Bulls to continue their impressive home form and pick up another three points. Marsch knows all his side can do is win their remaining two games and they can finish the regular season top of the Eastern Conference.

MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: StubHub Center – Saturday, September 3 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST) 

Match Odds: LA Galaxy 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Columbus Crew 100/30

Match Preview

LA Galaxy host Columbus Crew on Saturday night in a battle between two sides that need to get a result without a number of first-team regulars.

The Galaxy are in a poor run of form, going winless through their last six games. They’ve drawn five of those, playing out a 0-0 draw with Vancouver last Saturday.

Bruce Arena has lost Gyasi Zardes for the season and won’t be able to call upon the services of Robbie Keane or Steven Gerrard this weekend, so squad depth is really being tested.

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LA are eight points behind FC Dallas at the top of the West but do have a game in hand, so a win this weekend would give them a real boost.

Columbus have had a terrible season to this point. It’s incredible to think that virtually the same group of players reached the MLS Cup final last term.

The Crew do come into this one on a high after ended their seven-game home winless streak with a 2-0 win over San Jose last weekend. Justin Meram scored one and assisted the other in that victory but he is away on international duty this week.

Photo: @ColumbusCrewSC

Photo: @ColumbusCrewSC

Columbus are six points off the playoff places in the East and need to rally if they are to make the postseason. But they have the second-worst away form in MLS this term, so taking anything away from StubHub on Saturday would have to be seen as a great result.

Last season’s only meeting ended in a 1-1 draw in Columbus. LA Galaxy have won five of the last eight meetings between the teams, with two draws. The only win for the Black and Yellow in that time came two years ago.

Team News

LA Galaxy will be without defender Jelle Van Damme as he is sidelined with a knee sprain, while Gyasi Zardes is out for the season with a broken metatarsal. Steven Gerrard is also sidelined as he is struggling with a hamstring problem. Robbie Keane played his final Republic of Ireland friendly on Wednesday and is unlikely to be back in time to play on Saturday night.

Columbus Crew have a long injury list to worry about with Matt Pacifici and Ben Swanson both ruled out, while Gaston Sauro, Waylon Francis, Wil Trapp and Conor Casey are all doubts. On top of that, Tony Tchani, Harrison Afful, Justin Meram and Rodrigo Saravia are all away on international duty.

Key Points

LA Galaxy’s last five: D/D/L/D/D

Columbus Crew’s last five: L/D/W/L/W

Key Stat: LA Galaxy is unbeaten in five-straight home games against Columbus. The Crew have not won away at Saturday’s opponents since June 2007.

Key Player: Giovani Dos Santos – LA have a number of key men out so the pressure will be on Giovani Dos Santos to deliver for the home side here. He only has two goals in his last ten MLS games so he needs to start producing more regularly if LA are to make a surge for the Western Conference title over the final few weeks.

Giovani dos Santos, MLS: NYCFC vs. LA Galaxy

Score Prediction

LA Galaxy 1-1 Columbus Crew – Both sides are very far from being full strength as a result of injuries and international call-ups so this is a tough one to call. LA Galaxy are strong at home and still haven’t lost at home all season. That’s unlikely to change against a Crew side that has only won one of their 11 away games this term. Score draw.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC

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

Match Preview

Columbus Crew welcome Trillium Cup rivals Toronto FC to Mapfre Stadium on Wednesday evening for a key midweek Eastern Conference battle.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Team News

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.

Key Points

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.

Ola Kamara Columbus Crew

Score Prediction

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.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, May 21 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto FC 19/20 – Draw  5/2 – Columbus Crew 14/5

Match Preview

Toronto FC welcome Columbus Crew to BMO Field on Saturday evening for the latest instalment of the Trillium Cup series.

The home side come into this tie off the back of their 1-1 draw against New York City FC. The Toronto faithful would have been hoping for a win but it was a good result as their side had to come from behind for a share of the points.

This was a missed chance for Greg Vanney’s side, who would have gone top of the Eastern Conference with a win. Toronto currently sit fourth, trailing top spot by two points.

Toronto need to take a win from this game to end their run of four consecutive outings at home with a respectable points tally. They have taken four points from three games so far, so seven from four matches would be a solid return.

Toronto Celebrate New York Red Bulls

Columbus Crew come into this one off the back of their 1-1 tie with Colorado, their second consecutive draw.

Crew have been on a far better run of form recently, only losing one of their last five, winning two and drawing two. They have built up momentum to push their way up table but know this is going to be a tough tie, especially considering they have failed to win in their last seven away games.

Columbus sit 9th in the East, seven points off top spot and three outside of the playoffs. They need to continue their run of form and push into the top six, the very least that would have been expected of them at the start of the season given the strength of their 2015 campaign.

Seattle Sounders vs Columbus Crew

Team News

Toronto FC are missing four players for the visit through injury. Benoit Cheyrou, Marky Delgado, Jonathan Osorio and Jozy Altidore are all out.

Columbus Crew have just two injury concerns ahead of this one as Chad Barson is out, while Tony Tchani is a doubt.

Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: W/L/W/L/D

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: Columbus were unbeaten in all three Trillium Cup meetings last season, winning two and drawing one and lead the all-time series with six wins to two. The Crew fans will be hoping their side can recreate the form they showed in the 2015 campaign and take a positive result in this one.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Toronto frontman has netted eight goals and racked up five assists so far this season. If he is on form here he could prove to be the difference for the home side once again.

Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC 2016

Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-1 Columbus Crew – Toronto to peg another win back on Columbus in the Trillium Cup series and get back to winning ways here. Columbus have been in a great run of form but this tie will be a huge challenge and their struggles on the road will continue.

Kei Kamara joins New England in record trade to end dramatic week for Columbus

Kei Kamara has left the Columbus Crew following a highly dramatic week after being traded to New England Revolution just minutes after the MLS primary transfer window closed on Wednesday night.

The Revolution have reportedly sent Columbus a record amount of allocation money in the trade – believed to be in excess of $300,000 – as well as an international roster spot for the current season, New England’s highest SuperDraft pick for 2017 and a second round pick for 2018.

Kamara, who ended last season as the joint-highest scorer in MLS with 22 goals, was involved in a very public spat with teammate Federico Higuain in last Saturday’s 4-4 home against Montreal Impact, in which both players scored twice.

The Crew earned a penalty kick in the 51st minute with the score at 3-1. Kamara wanted to take the penalty as he was set for a first career hat-trick but Higuain instead put the ball into the net to make it 4-1, before the Crew collapsed to allow Montreal back into the game.

Kamara laid into his teammate after the game, labelling Higuain as “selfish” as well as questioning the club’s team spirit.

“You have two goals, you’re going for a hat-trick, a player that’s never scored a hat-trick in their career,” Kamara told local TV after the game. “What do you do? Do you give it to him or do you take it? That’s selfishness. That’s not a teammate. That’s selfishness.

“We scored a lot of goals, but there was no team play and that completely explains the way me and Federico behaved on the penalty kick. A team who stays together will win games. A team that doesn’t, not gonna win games. And that’s horrible.”

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Kamara was subsequently suspended for this weekend’s game against Colorado but he showed no regret for his comments following that decision when speaking on Tuesday.

“[Coach Gregg Berhalter] told me that this morning, and obviously I didn’t agree to it all,” the Sierra Leonean forward said. “I won’t agree to it. But he’s the boss, and if he says, ‘We don’t need you for the weekend. You’re going to have to sit out for the weekend,’ there’s nothing I can do about that.”

With tensions reaching boiling point, Columbus took the decision to trade their star striker late on Wednesday, with both the Crew and New England officially announcing the deal on Thursday morning.

Columbus won’t be able to replace the 31-year-old goalscorer until the summer transfer window opens on July 4, but they do now have a Designated Player slot available, as well as a healthy sum of allocation money to invest.

Kamara penned a DP contract with Columbus this offseason, just one year after returning to MLS from Middlesbrough and will now become New England’s second DP, joining defender Jose Goncalves.

The Revolution have struggled for goals so far this term, averaging just 1.18 per game – the sixth-worst return in the league so far – so Kamara’s arrival will undoubtedly give the club a boost.

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“We have been looking to strengthen our team and we feel that this addition accomplishes just that,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said in a club statement. “Kei is a player who has had success and is a proven goal scorer in MLS. We’re pleased we were able to get this deal done and look forward to Kei’s arrival and integration into the team.”

Kamara will now join his seventh team in ten years and his fifth MLS side, having played for Columbus, San Jose, Houston and Sporting Kansas City before then returning to the Crew ahead of the 2015 season.

He has scored a total of 79 goals in 234 MLS appearances and is the league’s second-highest active goalscorer among current MLS players, trailing only San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, who has 116 goals.

Kamara could make his Revs debut in Saturday’s game against Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium and could face the Crew three times during the regular season, at home on July 9 and August 20 before a trip to MAPFRE Stadium on September 25.

What do you make of Columbus Crew’s decision to trade Kei Kamara to the New England Revolution?