This game was originally scheduled for August 11 but was moved by MLS after Columbus’ wish to attend their late teammate Kirk Urso’s funeral.
The Crew played in Houston against the Dynamo on Sunday night, earning a 2-2 tie. The draw gave them 30 points on the season with an 8-8-6 record. Toronto, currently in last place in MLS with only 20 points (5-14-5), lost at home to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
Both teams are in the middle of packed schedules, including three more games after this one in the next ten days. The game will by Columbus’ and Toronto’s third this week.
When the two teams faced off in Toronto on March 31st, the Crew returned from Canada with the full three points after a 1-0 win. Bernardo Anor, now out for the season due to an ACL injury, scored the lone goal.
Due to the cramped scheduling, expect Crew head coach Robert Warzycha to start making some roster changes in the near future. Julius James and Nemanja Vukovic are the two most likely defenders to fill in for the recent starting back four of Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Carlos Mendes, and Josh Williams. Milovan Mirosevic, Tony Tchani, and Danny O’Rourke can all spot either Chris Birchall or Cole Grossman in the defensive midfielder positions.
Federico Higuain made his Crew debut against Houston and quickly proved to be a dangerous addition to the offensive attack. He picked up an assist after playing Eddie Gaven in on goal with a great looping pass. His partnership with Jairo Arrieta up top needs time to gel, and there aren’t many better games for that to happen than this one. Toronto have allowed 43 goals in only 24 games. I would be fine with some players being rested for the upcoming stretch of games, but I would prefer Arrieta and Higuain start up top and get some valuable chemistry together.
Toronto forward Ryan Johnson has put together a pretty stellar season so far with five goals and four assists to his name. He’s partnered up top with Eric Hassli who can be lethal when on his game. Left-back Ashtone Morgan leads the team in assists with five. Winger Luis Silva has three goals and two assists on the year.
Prediction: Crew 2-0 Toronto
Columbus’ new attack-minded play, lead by Higuain, helps the Crew to a 2-0 home win over Toronto and their dismal defense.