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 Power Rankings: Week 19 – Sporting KC jump to top as Revs fall again

Another week of Major League Soccer action is behind us and so it’s time to look at the latest MLSGB Power Rankings.

July was always going to be a tough month for almost every club as international call-ups have left several teams decimated, but no one told Sporting Kansas City about the potential struggles.

The 2013 MLS Cup winners have climbed to the top of our Power Rankings after 19 weeks, despite still being just sixth in the Western Conference.

The reason behind their rise is that they have the best points-per-game ratio in MLS and Sunday night’s 1-0 win over Vancouver saw them move to within just five points of Supporters’ Shield leaders DC United, with four games in hand.

SKC are closely followed by DC in the latest rankings, though the Eastern Conference leaders didn’t play this weekend.

Vancouver Whitecaps still sit third as Seattle’s 1-0 loss to Chicago Fire leaves them down in fifth place for now.

At the other end, New England Revolution continued to fall as they lost their fifth-straight MLS game to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night in a 4-1 defeat.

Things aren’t looking good for last year’s runners-up and they’ll be bottom of the rankings before too long if they don’t improve quickly.

Chicago may have beaten Seattle on Saturday, but none of the four teams ahead of them in the Power Rankings lost either, so the Fire still sit in last place for now.

Here’s how the MLSGB Power Rankings look after Week 19’s action:

MLS Power Rankings – Week 19

What do you make of the latest Power Rankings? Should Sporting KC be at the top?