Live Thread

FT – Columbus Crew 2-0 Toronto FC.

88′ GOAL COLUMBUS CREW. Canadian striker Jacen Russell-Rowe scores the insurance goal for the Crew to make it 2-0.

81′ – Another corner for the hosts.

74′ – Bernardeschi’s left footed shot is powerful, but saved by Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte.

64′ – Another double change is made by Dunfield. Insigne and Coello are replaced by Cassius Mailula who is making his debut for TFC, Vázquez also checks in.

62′ – Romero makes a big save to stop Aidan Morris’ shot. He pushes it out for a Columbus corner.

46′ – Terry Dunfield makes one change at halftime: Sapong exits the match for Deandre Kerr.

HT – Columbus Crew 1-0 Toronto FC.

40′ – The Reds are lucky to only be behind by one goal. The hosts have had numerous opportunities to double, even triple their lead.

25′ – Lorenzo Insigne’s curling shot rattles off the woodwork. Solid effort from Federico Bernardeschi to keep the play alive and find his Italian compatriot.

21′ GOAL COLUMBUS CREW. Diego Rossi scores his first goal in a Columbus Crew shirt. He reacted quickest to Tomás Romero’s parried save which went right back into danger.

19′ – Cucho Hernández’s header doesn’t miss the net by much. Yeboah continues to be a threat down the left flank for Columbus.

10′ – Defender Kobe Franklin puts his body on the line to block a cross from Crew winger Yaw Yeboah.

5′ – CJ Sapong misses a golden opportunity to take the lead.

4′ – Jonathan Osorio wins a foul in midfield

1′ – We have kicked off in Columbus.

7:05 pm ET – Guess the final score of the match in this week’s edition of our prediction league!

6:45 pm ET – Toronto FC are looking to snap a nine-game losing streak tonight. The last time the Reds faced off against the Crew, it ended honours even at BMO Field with a 1-1 draw.

Starting XIs

Captain and club legend Michael Bradley makes his 300th appearance for Toronto FC tonight. Lorenzo Insigne starts – after some turmoil that occurred during training this week between him and interim head coach Terry Dunfield.

CJ Sapong leads the line for the Reds, while defender Themi Antonoglou steps into the XI for the suspended Raoul Petretta.

Uruguayan attacker Diego Rossi makes his highly anticipated first start for the Columbus Crew. Former CF Montréal defender Rudy Camacho also starts his first match for the Crew.

Canadians Mohamed Farsi and former TFC product Jacen Russell-Rowe are available for selection off the bench for head coach Wilfried Nancy.

Match Preview, by Aasim Hashim

On the back of a sorely needed positive performance, the Reds travel south of the border to face off against the Columbus Crew on Saturday night.

Despite the loss in last week’s 3-2 defeat to CF Montréal, the Reds finally showed some fight against their 401 Derby rivals and ended a goalscoring drought that spanned 686 minutes. As they head to Field on Saturday night in Columbus, Toronto FC will look to snap two other streaks with a win. 

“The feel after Montreal was disappointment, we were gutted to not win,” said Terry Dunfield on Thursday. “We put a lot of work into that game.” 

“When we reviewed the game it was almost two games in one. The momentum graph showed that we started really well, there wasn’t a ton in it, then we concede two tough goals,” he continued “The team’s reaction in the second half was fantastic. We score a really well-worked goal and you feel like maybe another one’s coming.”

The Reds will not only be hoping to pick up their first point in seven matches, but will be hoping to finally get their hands on an all-too-rare win. TFC have not tasted victory since May 27 against D.C. United, and have yet to secure a win away from BMO Field all year long.

To make this fixture even more challenging, they’ll have to do so against a Columbus team that have not lost to the Reds in their last four outings and have lost only once all season on their home turf.

Toronto FC welcomed back some of their key players last week, most notably Michael Bradley and Lorenzo Insigne. Bradley, who started the match, was substituted at half-time, while Insigne came on midway through the second half and changed TFC’s attacking game, collecting an assist on the Reds’ opening goal of the match.

“We had Montreal on the back foot and then we give up just a really tough goal,” added the interim coach. “Each time you watch it back it’s harder to watch, but there was a nice spirit even with ten men. The guys kept going and were able to get the fans a nice goal at the end of the game.”

Both Insigne and Bradley seem to have fared well in their returns from injury and should be involved this weekend. However, after Friday’s unsavoury news, what role Insigne plays this weekend will be an intriguing subplot.

However, the club will continue to be without two of its goalkeepers as both Sean Johnson and Greg Ranjitsingh had surgeries in the last week. This means Tomás Romero will be called upon again by head coach Terry Dunfield. 

The club will also be without Raoul Petretta this week, who was sent off in last week’s matchup against CF Montréal, and midfielder Latif Blessing, who continues to be out of the lineup through injury.

While Dunfield has been happy with how his squad has progressed under his stewardship, he knows that the Reds need to avoid mistakes like they made against CFM last weekend but also take some calculated risks on the offensive side of the ball.

“The errors are ones we’d like back and I think we know that,” said Dunfield, speaking to reporters on Thursday afternoon. “Taking some risks and doing new stuff. This is part of the process…and if we can mitigate some of the risk we should be OK.”

The Reds will need to be responsible with the ball and make sure they do not provide Columbus’ dangerous offence any free chances. The Ohio-based team are one of the highest-scoring squads in the league having scored 48 goals through 24 games. Only Western Conference leaders St. Louis City SC have netted more (49) through 24 league matches.

Dunfield acknowledged the danger that Columbus pose and he will know that the Reds are in tough against this weekend’s opponents.

“I think Columbus are very good with the ball,” said Dunfield. “Tactically, they spread across the five channels. Their movement is excellent when they look to open teams up.”

The Crew came into this match in good form despite a disappointing exit in the Leagues Cup. Over their last five matches in all competitions, the Crew have out and out lost just one time; a 3-2 loss to the Portland Timbers before the MLS went on its Leagues Cup break. In the Leagues Cup, Columbus finished top of their group securing two wins, before ultimately falling to MLS side Minnesota United in a shootout.

The Crew followed their disappointing exit with a win in last weekend’s Ohio derby against the Eastern Conference leaders, FC Cincinnati, in which Columbus slotted three goals past Cincinnati en route to a 3-0 victory. 

The win continued a streak for Columbus in which they have picked up at least one point in nine of their past 10 MLS matches. 

A big part of the Crew’s success this season has been their balanced attack. Head coach Wilfred Nancy has been able to count on his attacking players and they have not disappointed. Led by Lucas Zelarayán, who leads the club with 10 goals and seven assists, the Crew boast four players who have scored four or more goals and have four more assists. This balance has made the club one of the best offences in the league.

This will be the second and final time the Reds and the Crew face off this season. In their previous meeting earlier this season, the clubs played to a 1-1 draw at BMO field. On that day, Deandre Kerr had the opening goal for the Reds.

Match Details

Opponent: Columbus Crew

Stadium: Field, Columbus, OH

Kick-off: 7:30 PM EST

Watch: MLS Season Pass