MLS Playoffs Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC

2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Final (1st Leg): Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC

MAPFRE Stadium – Tuesday, November 21 – 20:00 ET (01:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Columbus 19/20 – Draw 11/5 – Toronto 2/1

Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC: Preview

The MLS Cup Playoffs continue on Tuesday night with the first leg of the Eastern Conference Championship. Columbus Crew welcome Toronto FC to MAPFRE Stadium in a game which has had plenty of people talking.

Columbus Crew weren’t tipped by the masses to make it this far considering they finished 5th in the East in the regular season. However, their playoff form has made people sit up and take note. They will be relishing the chance to try and take a lead away to Toronto in the second leg.

They have been spurred on by off-field uncertainties surrounding the team’s future location. A special atmosphere is expected on Tuesday night, considering this could be the final game at MAPFRE Stadium.

This is a big chance for Crew to do what they did to NYCFC in the previous round in their home fixture. They have won seven of their last eight at MAPFRE and given the absentees for Toronto there is every chance they can do it again.

Embed from Getty ImagesToronto FC have already secured a double this season and are aiming for the first treble in MLS history. But, those missing key players are going to have a huge impact on the game.

Sebastian Giovinco, arguably the frontrunner for the MVP award is suspended as is his strike partner Jozy Altidore. No matter how well a squad can perform on their day, missing two superstars is a concern for the very best teams.

Greg Vanney will be looking for his side to pull together here and make it difficult for their opponents. They cannot afford to fall to the sword in the first leg like NYCFC did at the hands of Columbus.

If they can take a draw or a low scoring margin of defeat into the second leg they’ll fancy their chances. That said, there is no chance they won’t be playing for the win.

Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC

via @TorontoFC on Twitter

Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC: Team News

Columbus Crew have no suspensions ahead of the first leg. However Hector Jimenez, Artur, Josh Williams and Mohammed Abu are going to have to be careful not to pick up a booking, as it will rule them out of the return fixture. Alex Crognale, Gaston Sauro, Ben Swanson and Connor Maloney are all out through injury.

Toronto FC are without Giovinco and Altidore through suspension, but will return for the second leg. Drew Moor and Victor Vazquez are doubtful to make it into the squad as they continue to recover from injury.

Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC: Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/D/W/W/L

Toronto’s last five: W/W/D/W/L

Key Stat: 32 goals missing – The absence of Giovinco and Altidore means Toronto are missing two players who have netted a combined 32 goals in 2017.

Key Player: Ola Kamara – The Columbus Crew forward has 19 goals to his name this season. He will be expected to provide the goals to put his side in a commanding position after the first leg.

Embed from Getty ImagesColumbus Crew vs Toronto FC: Prediction

Columbus Crew 2-1 Toronto FC – Given the squads ahead of this game it would be surprising to see Columbus Crew not take a lead into the second leg. However, Toronto FC are more than a two-man team. They have only lost one of their last nine games on the road and will be out to prove a point in such a big game. It’s going to be a tactical battle which should set up the second leg to be an even better game next week.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. Montreal Impact 

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Saturday, May 7 – 19:30 EST (00:30 GMT)

Match Odds: Columbus Crew 5/6 – Draw 13/5 – Montreal Impact 16/5

Match Preview

Columbus Crew welcome high-flying Montreal Impact to MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday evening in a game which has plenty to offer.

Crew are still struggling in games and sit 9th in the Eastern Conference as a result. Not many would have predicted this sort of season for them and they need to work on turning things around.

Gregg Berhaulter’s side come into this one off the back of their 1-0 loss against Seattle, which ended their two game winning streak, their only two wins of the season so far.

Scoring has been a problem for Crew who have netted just seven goals in their eight games. In their three home outings they have won twice, so it appears that home form would be their best chance of pusing their way up the table.

Seattle Sounders vs Columbus Crew

Montreal Impact are sitting top of the Eastern Conference and are mounting a solid challenge for the Supporters’ Shield. Impact have already beaten Columbus Crew earlier this season, a 2-0 victory at home.

There is a little room for improvement for Mauro Biello’s team, who come into this one off the back of their 2-2 draw against Colorado.

Impact were in a winning position in the game against Colorado so will be ruing a missed chance to get back to winning ways. They are now winless in three (D2, L1)

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact

Team News

Columbus Crew have two injury concerns, Gaston Sauro and Mohammed Saeid are doubts.

Montreal Impact have five players carrying injuries. Andres Romero, Cameron Porter, Donny Toia, Anthony Jackson-Hamel and Hassoun Camara are all expected to be out.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: D/L/W/W/L

Montreal Impact’s last five: W/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: Columbus have only lost once in seven all-time MLS home meetings against Montreal.

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – The Montreal playmaker will be looking to breakdown the Crew defence who despite their lowly position in the league have only conceded ten goals.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact Ignacio Piatti

Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 1-2 Montreal Impact – Montreal to get back to winning ways and inflict more misery on Columbus.

VIDEO: MLS Cup Final 2015 Preview Show

With just four days to go until the 2015 MLS Cup Final between Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers, we take a look at both sides’ chances of success in our latest TV show.

Columbus will host Sunday’s clash and will look to lift a first MLS Cup title since 2008, while the travelling Timbers are appearing in their first ever MLS Cup final in what is just their fifth season.

Check out the video below and vote for who you think will be crowned champions on Sunday in our poll.

MLS Cup Final set as Portland prepare visit to Columbus

We’re down to the wire. After a long and entertaining season, the 2015 MLS Cup Final will crown a new champion as the Columbus Crew will host the Portland Timbers at MAPFRE Stadium next Sunday night.

The Timbers will take part in their first ever MLS Cup Final after beating FC Dallas 5-3 on aggregate to become Western Conference champions last night. They have won more away games than any side in MLS this year and will need one more to lift the title in Ohio.

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That won’t be an easy task against a Columbus side that eliminated Supporters’ Shield winners New York Red Bulls 2-1 on aggregate over two legs.

The Crew fell 1-0 in New York last night but were able to edge through, thanks to their outstanding performance in the first leg at home.

Columbus have won their last three home games in total. But their last defeat came against Portland.

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The Timbers won 2-1 at MAPFRE Stadium at the end of September in the only meeting between the two this season and that will give the away side confidence as they chase a first ever championship title.

Columbus will be taking part in their second MLS Cup Final after winning the championship against the Red Bulls in 2008.

MAPFRE Stadium will host its second ever final after the 2001 MLS Cup Final between LA Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes took place in Ohio, with the Quakes lifting the trophy that year.

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

Competition: MLS Cup Playoffs (Eastern Conference Final First Leg) – Columbus Crew vs. New York Red Bulls

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Sunday, November 22 – 17:00 ET (22:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Columbus Crew 5/4 – Draw 12/5 – New York Red Bulls 21/20

Match Preview

Columbus Crew welcome New York Red Bulls to MAPFRE Stadium for the first leg of their Eastern Conference Final clash, with one of these sides just two games away from the 2015 MLS Cup Final.

This is a huge fixture for Crew as they can get a real feeling as to whether or not they will advance into the final if they can outplay the Red Bulls on home soil.

In the last five meetings between the sides where Columbus have been at home they’ve been extremely hard to split. Both sides have won two and the other game a draw in that time so it’s almost impossible to call which way this first leg will go.

Columbus were taken to extra time by Montreal Impact in the last round and have Kei Kamara to thank for them getting them to this match. They cannot afford to give the Red Bulls chances otherwise they will more than likely be punished and keeping a clean sheet in the home leg will be one of the priorities for Columbus on Sunday.

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New York Red Bulls will be feeling confident heading into this tie. They have been in fantastic form but still have a lot of work to do if they are to complete a Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup double.

We can expect a similar performance to that of the first leg of the semifinals against DC United, where New York were happy to sit and wait for chances to arise on the counter.

Jesse Marsch will be looking for his side to get an away goal. As we know, losing the first leg with the consolation of an away goal keeps the second leg interesting and the Red Bulls’ approach to the game will be interesting to see.

As previously mentioned, the Red Bulls travel well away to Columbus and they have only failed to score once in their last five visits.

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Team News

Columbus Crew could be without up to three players as Kristinn Steindorsson and Mohammed Saeid are out, while Tony Tchani is a doubt. The Crew will need their top players to be on song here. Kei Kamara, Ethan Finlay and Federico Higuain have 46 goals between them this season and they need to continue to provide in this one.

New York Red Bulls are expected to be without Chris Duvall, Anatole Abang and Damien Perrinelle. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Lloyd Sam have 28 goals combined this season and their performances have been key to NYRB success. Luis Robles was awarded the Allstate goalkeeper of the season and it comes as no real surprise, he is a vital last line of defence for the Red Bulls.

Key Points

Columbus Crews’ last five: L/W/W/L/W

New York Red Bulls’ last five: L/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Columbus have scored at least two goals in eight of their last ten Major League Soccer outings. You feel they will need to score at least two in the first leg and make use of their home advantage to have to best chance of progressing.

Key Player: Kei Kamara – The Crew look a completely different side when he is playing at his best and his brace against Montreal Impact in the last round saw them progress to this stage. They will need him at his best here.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 2-1 New York Red Bulls – Crew to make home advantage count but still concede to a Red Bulls side who are very hard to stop. This will leave it perfectly poised for the second decisive leg to see who can make it to the MLS Cup Final.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Sporting Kansas City

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. Sporting Kansas City 

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Saturday, August 22 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST) 

Match Odds: Columbus Crew 21/20 – Draw 12/5 – Sporting Kansas City 5/2

Match Preview

It’s third in the Eastern Conference against third in the Western Conference this weekend as Columbus Crew host Sporting Kansas City at Mapfre Stadium.

Columbus Crew come into this one off the back of a 2-2 draw with New York City FC in midweek, a game they would have been hoping to win. They have a chance to make home advantage count again here against a strong SKC side.

Gregg Berhalter will be disappointed that his side could not make up any ground on the Eastern Conference leaders DC United. They remain nine points behind with one more game in hand.

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Sporting Kansas City come into this one off the back of a 5-0 thumping in midweek at the hands of San Jose Earthquakes. Playmaker Benny Feilhaber saw red in the latter stages of the game, he will be a huge miss for this tie.

Peter Vermes will not be happy with that result as it was a great opportunity to close the gap on Western Conference leaders LA Galaxy. SKC could have potentially gone above the leaders but still remain three points behind. The saving grace for Vermes is that his side still have three games in hand on Galaxy, but will not want a repeat performance of the midweek tie.

Sporting Kansas City are in a great position despite that loss, they have lost the least amount of regular season games out of any other side and stand a good chance of winning the Supporter’s Shield if they can take positive results from their games in hand.

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This will be a test for the sides who are both having good seasons, SKC came out on top in this fixture last season, winning 2-1 at Mapfre Stadium, and will be hoping for a repeat of that victory.

Team News

Columbus Crew have four injury concerns. Sergio Campbell is set to miss out while there are doubts about Harrison Afful, Emanuel Pogatetz and Ben Swanson. Kei Kamara, Federico Higuain and Jack McInerney are all one booking away from suspension.

Sporting Kansas City could be without up to seven players. Ike Opara, Bernardo Anor and Roger Espinoza are set to miss out. Jalil Anibaba, Graham Zusi, Soni Mustivar and Seth Sinovic are all doubts. Kevin Ellis is one booking away from suspension.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/D/L/W/D

Sporting Kansas City’s last five: L/D/W/W/L

Key Stat: Columbus are unbeaten in nine of their last ten home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Kei Kamara – Crew’s main man has been in inspired form this season. He has netted six in his last six outings and has an impressive tally of 18 so far this campaign.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 2-1 Sporting Kansas City – Crew to edge a close tie as they come into this one in better shape than SKC.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. New England Revolution 

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Wednesday, June 24 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Columbus Crew 19/20 – Draw 5/2 – New England Revolution 11/4

Match Preview

Columbus Crew host New England Revolution in their midweek clash as they look to win their first game in six regular season ties.

Despite the Crew’s winless run they are still sitting in a playoff spot but will need to turn things around if they are to avoid dropping out the top six.

They come into this one off the back of a 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy, which isn’t a bad result as they equalised in the second half through Federico Higuain.

Gregg Barhalter‘s side need to tighten up at the back, having conceded ten goals in their last five regular season outings.

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Kei Kamara hasn’t netted in his last three regular season games and will be hoping to rediscover his golden touch in front of goal which has seen him bag 10 in 15 appearances.

New England Revolution have struggled lately, winning just once in their last eight regular season games. They are still sitting in second place but last weekend’s loss to DC United has made their chances of finishing at the top of the pile much harder, as they are now seven points adrift.

Jay Heaps will be hoping a win in this one could be the start of a revitalisation for his side, as they have Orlando City bearing down on them in third.

They come into the game off the back of that defeat to DC United, which was bitterly disappointing as they threw the game away after being a goal to the good at halftime and need to ensure the players stay focused for longer here.

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Charlie Davies has had a bright start to the season, netting seven in 16 appearances and he will be hoping to build on that in this game.

The Revs thumped Columbus in last season’s playoffs but the two sides played out a 0-0 draw at Gillette Stadium in the first meeting between the two this year.

Team News

Columbus Crew could be without up to three players as Matt Lampson, Will Trapp and Chris Klute are all doubtful. We can expect to see Federico Higuain in the thick of the action, as he has scored in his last two games.

New England Revolution will be without Darrius Barnes and Jermaine Jones, who both remain sidelined.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: D/D/L/L/D

New England Revolution’s last five: D/D/L/W/L

Key Stat: New England have conceded at least two goals in their last four regular season games and have lost their last three away from home.

Key Player: Federico Higuain – The playmaker has been in good form of late. He has netted four so far this season and registered one assist. Expect him to be involved.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 2-2 New England Revolution – Another tight affair expected, with neither side doing enough to take all three points. There should be more goals than the earlier meeting as neither side has been good defensively.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC

Venue: Mapfre Stadium – Saturday, March 14 – 19:30 ET (23:30 GMT )

Match Odds: Columbus Crew 13/10 – Draw 9/4 – Toronto FC 15/8

Match Preview

Columbus Crew host Toronto FC at the Mapfre Stadium on Saturday evening for the second game of the 2015 MLS season in a key Eastern Conference clash.

Columbus Crew didn’t get off to the best start after suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat away at Houston Dynamo last weekend, although they may count themselves unlucky as they dominated possession and managed to get 18 shots away but just couldn’t find the net.

Toronto FC couldn’t have asked for a much better result in their opening game as they won 3-1 away at Canadian rivals Vancouver Whitecaps thanks to goals from Jozy Altidore and Robbie Findley.

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Columbus enjoyed six consecutive wins on home soil at the end of the 2014 regular season, so they will be hoping to continue where they left off at the Mapfre Stadium against a Toronto side who recorded their first away win for seven games in MLS last time out.

Head Coach Gregg Berhalter led The Crew to the playoffs for the first time in three years last season and he will certainly be confident that he can replicate that achievement, but with such a competitive Eastern Conference, Columbus will be desperate to get early points on the board.

Greg Vanney‘s Toronto have been the subject of attention throughout the preseason due to the resources they’ve invested in the squad as they’ve brought in key players in the shape of Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Benoit Cheyrou.

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Although it’s very early days, they look to have hit the ground running and their quality was immediately evident in the first game last weekend. The club will be hoping that they continue to justify the expenditure their arrivals demanded.

As well as a significantly improved squad, recent history is also on Toronto’s side when it comes to fixtures against Columbus. The Reds won all three of the games between these two sides last season, with the most recent meeting providing an entertaining 3-2 win for Toronto back in August 2014.

Having said that, in the games before the 2014 season, Toronto had managed just two wins from 19 attempts against Columbus with The Crew coming out on top on ten occasions and drawing seven.

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It’s tightly poised and with two teams that like to get the ball down and play in an entertaining way, we could be in for a real treat.

Team News

Columbus Crew midfielder Romain Gall may not be fit for action after he missed the last game with a knee injury while Tony Tchani will miss the game after being issued with a one-match suspension for endangering the safety of an opponent in last week’s 1-0 loss to Houston. Toronto FC have no injuries or suspensions to take into consideration and are likely to field an unchanged side.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s form: L

Toronto FC’s form: W

Key Stat: The last five meetings between Columbus and Toronto have produced 17 goals, so we can hope for more of the same.

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Key Player: Jozy Altidore – The USMNT striker marked his return to Major League Soccer with two goals and looks full of confidence once again. With Giovinco, Bradley and Cheyrou orchestrating the midfield behind him, chances will inevitably come his way.

Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 1-2 Toronto FC – Columbus were unlucky to lose last week against Houston. Toronto certainly weren’t lucky to win at Vancouver and they looked very strong. The Reds should have too much firepower for Columbus to handle.