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.

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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.

Key takeaways as Toronto leave it late to win dramatic Trillium Cup clash

Toronto FC came from behind twice before winning the game in stoppage time as they beat Columbus Crew 3-2 to win the 2014 Trillium Cup clash between the sides. Here are our key takeaways from the game:

 

1. Where would Toronto be without Defoe?

The 31-year-old scored his second brace since moving to the Reds, and has now scored six goals in seven appearances. He twice brought Toronto back into the game with a penalty and then a wonderful strike ten minutes from time. With the former-Spurs man not heading to the World Cup, Toronto have climbed the table and will be looking up further in weeks to come.

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2. Columbus were too open.

Prior to the game, much of the concern for the Crew was that Federico Higuain was absent and there were questions about where the goals would come from. They responded by scoring two, but the real problems came in defence as they were far too open for much of the game. Tyson Wahl gave the penalty away for a tug on Defoe, and the marking assignments on Doneil Henry were terrible in the dying minutes as the powerful centre-back powered home his header.

 

3. Doneil Henry is unstoppable.

We spoke about how dominant and powerful the 21-year-old is after their Canadian Championship game on Wednesday, and the Canadian defender put in another remarkable display on Saturday night to help his side get the win. He should have done better in the air against Agustin Viana who put in the Crew’s second goal, but he responded in the best possible way with his late header. He wanted the ball more than anyone in the box, and made sure that he connected with Dan Lovitz’ corner to win the game for his side. The goal meant a lot to the Toronto-born defender as his passionate celebrations showed.

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4. Toronto making a charge.

The Reds have now taken seven points from their past three games, and have turned their form around. They had lost three in a row prior to that but can now start looking further up the table after moving ahead of Columbus into eight. They host San Jose next and will want make that their third home win on the bounce.

 

5. Columbus are desperately unlucky.

The Crew battled well throughout and will be devastated to have left with nothing. They got their first win in eight last weekend and looked like adding another as they lead the game twice last night. Though the late fightback from Toronto means Columbus have now five games this season. They host Real Salt Lake next and will have the tough task of winning that one.