Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC | MLS Match Preview
COLUMBUS CREW vs TORONTO FC
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
April 5, 2013 (WEEK 5, MLS Game #38)
6 p.m. ET (TWCSN-OH; SNet 360)
The first match in the battle for the Trillium Cup is ahead on Saturday evening when the Columbus Crew entertain Toronto FC in a match of high-flying Eastern Conference teams at Crew Stadium. The Crew have won all three starts for the first time in club history, coming off a late 2-1 win at Seattle last weekend. TFC had their two-game winning streak to start the year – also a club record – put to an end last Saturday in a 3-0 loss at Real Salt Lake.
REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. AR1 (bench): George Gansner; AR2 (opposite): Jason White; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 25 games; FC/gm: 24.8; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 6; pens: 7
DISABLED LIST: CLB: Matthew Wiet
SUSPENDED: TOR: Steven Caldwell (through April 6)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (19 meetings): Crew 10 wins, 30 goals … Toronto FC 2 wins, 19 goals … Ties 7
AT COLUMBUS (10 meetings): Crew 7 wins, 20 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 11 goals … Ties 2
RETURN MATCHES: 5/31: Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew, 5 p.m. ET; 8/9: Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.
LAST YEAR (MLS)
5/18: TOR 0, CLB 1 (Oduro 42)
7/27: TOR 2, CLB 1 (Osorio 87; Wiedeman 94+ -- Oduro 17)
8/17: CLB 2, TOR 0 (Higuain 19, 67)
- The Crew have lost to Toronto FC just twice in 19 meetings all-time. TFC’s 2-1 win last July 27 at BMO Field was their first since a 4-2 win Sept. 10, 2011 at Columbus Crew Stadium, which ended a 12-game TFC winless run vs. Columbus.
- The Toronto FC victory last year was their first win ever against the Crew on their home ground, after three losses and five draws.
- Coaches record: Gregg Berhalter vs. TOR: first game … Ryan Nelsen v CLB: P3 W1 L2 D0
The Columbus Crew extended their season-opening winning streak to three games, getting a dramatic late winner for a 2-1 win against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field. The Crew sit in a tie atop the Eastern Conference, with nine points from three matches.
- Seattle opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. A pass from Obafemi Martins from the midway line put Kenny Cooper into space behind the Columbus defense, and after a long run he rifled his shot inside the far post from the left side of the box.
- The match took a dramatic turn in the 58th minute. Crew forward Dominic Oduro was able to get behind the Sounders FC defense and drew a penalty from center back Djimi Traore, who was also shown a red card for his foul. Federico Higuain blasted the subsequent penalty into the back of the net to level the score at 1-1.
- The Crew then scored the winner four minutes into stoppage time. From a short corner, Higuain found Justin Meram unmarked at the top of the penalty area and he curled home a stunning strike from the left side of the box high inside the far post.
- Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter made one change to the team that defeated Philadelphia Union 2-1 at Crew Stadium. Dominic Oduro started up top in place of Jairo Arrieta.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Steve Clark - Josh Williams, Michael Parkhurst, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Waylon Francis - Hector Jimenez (Ethan Finlay 73), Wil Trapp (Justin Meram 89), Tony Tchani, Bernardo Anor - Federico Higuain - Dominic Oduro (Jairo Arrieta 62).
- The Crew have now their first three games for the first time in club history, winning for a second successive trip to Seattle in the dramatic 2-1 win.
- “Obviously, to get the winner that late is a tremendous result for us, and a great effort,” Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “You see that we wanted to try to play, we wanted to play our game, and we knew it was going to be tough. And we just kept going and we didn't give up. At times, it was a little sloppy. We got punished for turnovers, but in the end we just kept going.”
- Justin Meram scored his first goal since last Sept. 4, when he hit the back of the net against Houston, the lone goal he scored in 2013.
- “I'm just so excited for this club and the direction we're going. This win – that goal – was not just for myself, but for this team and to be 3-0 is incredible. It's the best way to start,” said Meram. “… It's always tough with all new faces, new coaches. But they've got us in the right system; they believe in us, we believe in each other.”
- Federico Higuain converted a penalty kick for his third goal of the season, his second from the spot. Higuain has been involved on the scoresheet in five of the Crew’s seven goals this season, adding an assist on the Meram game-winner.
- “We were able to create our own luck because of comprehensive passing. We were a complete team, in the sense of being able to put passes together and because of that, we were able to win,” Higuain said.
- Dominic Oduro was given his first start of the season, coming in as the lone striker after two substitute appearances. Jairo Arrieta went to the substitutes’ bench after starting the first two games.
- “The guys have accepted the way that we want to play. That's been key because if it doesn't work with the group that you have, it's going to be very difficult,” said Berhalter. “But they've taken it on, they've embraced it and they've put their little touches on it, and that's been nice.”
Toronto FC saw their season-opening winning run come to an end, falling 3-0 to Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. TFC sit in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference, with six points from three matches.
- Real Salt Lake were in the lead after just 10 minutes. Referee Baldomero Toledo pointed to the spot after Toronto defender Doneil Henry spun Saborio around and flung him to the turf. Saborio took his own penalty and easily sent TFC goalkeeper Julio Cesar the wrong way.
- Luis Gil then added a second in the 28th minute. Saborio dummied a ball that made its way to defender Chris Wingert, whose shot rebounded and fell at Gil's feet, and his effort took another deflection on its way to the back of the net.
- RSL completed the rout in the 55th minute. Javier Morales popped the ball up over the defenders and inside the area, where Saborio latched onto the pass and flicked it off the inside of the right post for the Real third.
- TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made two changes to the team that defeated D.C. United 1-0 in their home opener at BMO Field. Bradley Orr and Jeremy Hall came into the side, in place of Jackson and Jonathan Osorio.
- TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Julio Cesar - Bradley Orr (Issey Nakajima-Farran 59), Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Justin Morrow - Mark Bloom, Jeremy Hall (Kyle Bekker 78), Michael Bradley, Alvaro Rey - Jermain Defoe (Dwayne De Rosario 62), Gilberto.
- Toronto FC went down to their first defeat of the season after taking maximum points from their opening matches against Seattle and D.C. United.
- “If you’d given me six points after the first three games that we had, considering the opposition and where we had to go, I would have taken it in a heartbeat,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said. “Considering that Real Salt Lake has been together for years and we’ve been together for minutes, especially with six points after three games, I’m absolutely delighted.”
- TFC also allowed goals in the first half for the first time this season, RSL ahead by two goals before the half-hour mark.
- “It was an uncharacteristic start for us,” Nelsen said. We didn’t really come out of the blocks very well. We weren’t focused enough from the start. The goals that we conceded were pretty soft. We have a lot to improve on and a lot to get better.”
- There was a major injury concern out of the RSL match as Jermain Defoe was forced off just after the hour mark with a hamstring injury.
- “He was feeling the hamstring before the game and it tightened up,” Nelsen said. “… He was feeling tight from the start and you could just see it in his movement, he was guarding it. I think it was best to just get him off and make sure he’s all right.”
- Jonathan Osorio was sidelined with a hamstring injury that gave a start to Jeremy Hall for the first time this season.
- “It doesn’t matter if it’s Jermain or any player, I wouldn’t risk one game for the sake of losing them for many,” Nelsen said. “Whether it’s the goalkeeper or Jermain Defoe or anybody, we need to rest them just for small-term gains. We’re going to lose these guys. I’ve always said that the strength without our squad is not in our one through 11, but in our 12 through 18, 12 through 20. The most mature teams in the MLS who do it consistently year in and year out are the deepest. That’s one thing we have to get good at.”
- Issey Nakajima-Farran made his MLS debut, coming on for the final half-hour in place of Bradley Orr, who was also making his first MLS start.
- “A lot of these guys haven’t really played that often to tell you the truth. Bradley Orr hasn’t played much. We’re finding out about ourselves, and as we learn we will get better and better,” said Nelsen. “One pleasing thing is that we had a lot of opportunities on goal. We looked like we were going to score on some of them.”