2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Final (2nd Leg): Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew
BMO Field – Wednesday, November 29 – 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT)
Match Odds: Toronto 4/7 – Draw 4/1 – Columbus 3/1
Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Preview
The Eastern Conference Final second leg is finely poised as Toronto FC welcome Columbus Crew to BMO Field. The scoreless draw at MAPFRE Stadium a week ago means there has to be a goal for this one to be settled in normal time.
Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney has been named MLS coach of the year. He will be looking for his side to progress here. But as the first leg proved, the two can be difficult to separate.
Their effective performance in the first leg has given them the ideal platform ahead of this game. Toronto are favourites to reach the MLS Cup Final, but they cannot take that for granted.
Columbus Crew struggled to break Toronto down and were frustrated in the first leg. By failing to score they have missed a good opportunity to put TFC on the back foot.
But Crew SC know that they can actually reach the final without winning the game. A score draw will be enough to take them through.
Gregg Berhalter will need to have his side well drilled and prepared to deal with a much stronger Toronto. They cannot afford to try and sit back too much, but by the same token they cannot play with an overly expansive style.
Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Team News
TFC welcome back Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore for the second leg. The squad is fresh with no injuries, so this should be Toronto in full force.
Columbus are with midfielder Artur through suspension. Connor Maloney, Gaston Sauro and Ben Swanson are all out, while Alex Crognale is a doubt.
Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Key Points
Toronto’s last five: W/D/W/L/D
Columbus Crew’s last five: D/W/W/L/D
Key Stat: 32 goals return – The return of Giovinco and Altidore means Toronto are in a strong position to advance to the MLS Cup Final. Their goal machines were missed last time out but considering their absentees the TFC side that drew the first leg did very well.
Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – Greg Vanney has called for the MLS MVP to come from his record-breaking Toronto side and it would be a surprise to see Giovinco honoured with the award. The Atomic Ant has had an extraordinary season and he will surely be key if his side are to progress to their second final in as many seasons.
Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Prediction
Toronto FC 3-1 Columbus Crew – The Eastern Conference Final second leg is finely balanced. TFC’s returning duo will be expected to provide the goods and prove too much to handle for Columbus.