Sun, Oct 28
4:00 PM ET
Toronto FCTOR

Preview: With playoffs out of reach, Crew, TFC play for pride

October 28, 2012 (WEEK 33, MLS Game #321)
4 p.m. ET (TSN/RDS2; FS-OH)
The Columbus Crew and Toronto FC bring down the curtain on their 2012 seasons when they meet in the final Trillium Cup encounter of the season Sunday afternoon at Crew Stadium. The Crew saw their MLS Cup Playoffs hopes dashed last weekend in a 3-2 loss at D.C. United to end a four-year postseason run, while TFC is looking to halt a long winless run in their season finale, after playing to a scoreless draw with Montréal in its last league match.
REFEREE: Drew Fischer. AR1 (bench): Greg Barkey; AR2 (opposite): Claudio Badea; 4th: Geoff Gamble
MLS Career: 6 games; FC/gm: 28.8; Y/gm: 2.7; R: 0; pens: 0
COLUMBUS CREW – OUT: FW Tommy Heinemann (L knee surgery); GK William Hesmer (R hip surgery); MF Bernardo Anor (L knee ACL tear); FW Aaron Schoenfeld (L quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Danny O'Rourke (concussion); DF Chad Marshall (R ankle inflammation); DF Julius James (R hamstring tightness); FW Olman Vargas (low back contusion)
TORONTO FC – OUT: GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); FW Danny Koevermans (L knee ACL tear); DF Ty Harden (lower abdominal strain); MF Torsten Frings (L hip); FW Keith Makubuya (L ankle sprain); FW Quincy Amarikwa (L hamstring strain); DF Darren O’Dea (R quadriceps strain); DOUBTFUL: DF Logan Emory (R shoulder sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Matt Stinson (R quadriceps strain)
FINED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Richard Eckersley, Eric Hassli, Torsten Frings
ALL-TIME (15 meetings): Crew 7 wins, 24 goals … Toronto FC 1 wins, 16 goals … Ties 7
AT COLUMBUS (8 meetings): Crew 5 wins, 16 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 10 goals … Ties 2
2012 (MLS)
3/31: TOR 0, CLB 1 (Anor 56)
8/25: CLB 2, TOR 1 (Gaven 4; Higuain 58 – Silva 71)
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season after the Crew won the first two. Bernardo Anor’s goal gave the Crew a 1-0 victory March 31 at BMO Field, then Eddie Gaven and Federico Higuaín scored to lead the Crew to an emotional 2-1 victory Aug. 22 at Crew Stadium.
  • In 15 all-time meetings between the teams, Toronto FC have won just once -- a 4-2 win last Sept. 10 at Columbus Crew Stadium, snapping a 12-game winless run vs. Columbus.
  • The Crew have never lost at BMO Field. The teams had played to five successive draws in Toronto before the Crew win in the first meeting this season.
  • Coaches' records: Robert Warzycha vs. TOR: P9 W4 L1 D4 … Paul Mariner vs. CLB: P1 W0 L1 D0
  • The Crew jumped into the lead after just four minutes. Making his first MLS start, Federico Higuaín surged down the left flank and patiently waited for numbers to arrive before finding Eddie Gaven, whose blast from outside the area took a deflection and nestled in the back of the net.
  • Higuaín and the Crew doubled the margin in the 58th minute. Capping a neat string of passes inside the area, the Crew Designated Player made it 2-0 with a calmly-taken finish from near the penalty spot.
  • But Toronto pulled to within a goal in the 71st minute. Recently-acquired Eric Hassli picked up a header from Quincy Amarikwa and sliced the Crew defense with a weighted ball that Luis Silva ran onto before stroking the finish past Columbus 'keeper Andy Gruenebaum.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda (Julius James 79), Carlos Mendes, Chad Marshall, Josh Williams - Chris Birchall, Milovan Mirosevic (Danny O'Rourke 75) - Emilio Renteria, Federico Higuain (Cole Grossman 76), Eddie Gaven - Jairo Arrieta.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Freddy Hall - Richard Eckersley, Darren O'Dea, Dicoy Williams (Aaron Maund 85), Ashtone Morgan - Andrew Wiedeman (Jeremy Hall 61), Terry Dunfield, Torsten Frings (Quincy Amarikwa 71), Ryan Johnson - Eric Hassli, Luis Silva.
The Columbus Crew saw their postseason dreams come to an end, D.C. United coming back for a 3-2 victory on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. The Crew are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 49 points from 33 games.
  • The Crew quieted the home crowd in the seventh minute when Jairo Arrieta's deflected header fell to Eddie Gaven in the center of the box and he guided the bouncing ball into the net for the opening goal.
  • United drew even in the 39th minute when United midfielder Nick DeLeon tapped home the rebound of a stopped Lionard Pajoy shot from close range.
  • Columbus answered two minutes later when Arrieta created enough space in front of centerback Dejan Jakovic to release a nasty right-footed effort that smacked the left post then ping-ponged off D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid’s back and into the net.
  • But United again pulled even in the 59th minute when Brandon McDonald was first to a loose ball after a free kick by Andy Najar, and got enough on his pass to find Marcelo Saragosa for a one-timer that curled inside goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum’s left post.
  • Then in stoppage time a breakaway goal from substitute Lewis Neal put the exclamation point on the celebration as United sealed their first playoff berth in five seasons.
  • Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made two changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Crew Stadium, both in central defense. Danny O'Rourkeand Carlos Mendes came into the team in place of Chad Marshall and Julius James.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda (Emilio Renteria 73), Danny O'Rourke, Carlos Mendes, Josh Williams - Chris Birchall, Milovan Mirosevic (Tony Tchani 88) - Justin Meram (Dilly Duka 64), Federico Higuain, Eddie Gaven - Jairo Arrieta.
  • With the defeat, the Crew were eliminated from postseason contention, the first time in five years the club will not play in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • “It hurts anytime you put your heart and soul into it all season and not come away with the playoffs,” goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said.
  • Said Eddie Gaven: “It’s tough. You always want to play for something and it’s tough when all of a sudden you’re out of the playoffs. There’s not much left to play for and it’s tough to make comments right now because the season is over.”
  • For a third time in as many matches, the Crew took the lead on the road inside the opening quarter-hour, but they lost all three.
  • “We played pretty well in the first half, went into halftime with a 2-1 lead, feeling pretty good about the way we were playing,” Gaven said. “Things broke down in the second half.”
  • Said head coach Robert Warzycha: “I’m disappointed. We found ways to get two goals. That should have been good enough. We probably deserved a better result.”
  • The Crew also allowed multiple goals for the fifth time in the last seven matches, following a four-game winning streak. They’ve gone 2-4-1 over that stretch.
  • “I think overall at the end of the season we were giving too many goals away. We basically conceded two goals per game in our last matches and if you do that you’re obviously not going to make it to the playoffs. It’s just too many goals. We probably to have to work harder defensively because we already have good individual talent,” said Warzycha.
  • Warzycha was forced to change his entire central defense pairing when an ankle injury forced Chad Marshall out of the lineup late. Julius James was also out with a hamstring injury.
  • “Before their second goal, they had crossed it a couple of times but nothing really dangerous was happening. They scored, and at that point we had to push hard for another goal, but unfortunately it didn’t happen,” said Warzycha. Added Gruenebaum: “We were pushing for the win and when you’re desperate, you leave yourself open in the back,” said. “That’s what happened. We needed to win. Anything less wouldn’t have mattered.”
  • Jairo Arrieta scored his fourth goal over the last four matches, after going five games without a goal. He has nine goals in 17 appearances since arriving at the club.
  • Gaven netted a goal for a second consecutive match, scoring for a third time this season inside the opening 10 minutes of a game.
Toronto FC had their league winless streak extended to 13 matches, playing to a scoreless draw with the Montréal Impact on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. TFC is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, with 23 points from 33 games.
  • Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins was credited with seven saves on the afternoon, but wasn't greatly troubled in keeping the clean sheet.
  • Toronto FC weathered a late storm that saw defender Richard Eckersley made a vital block in the goalmouth, as goalkeeper Freddy Hall made five saves to help TFC hold on to its first league shutout since July 14.
  • TFC head coach Paul Mariner made four changes to the team that lost 1-0 to D.C. United at BMO Field. Freddy Hall came in between the posts for Milos Kocic, Ashtone Morgan started in the back four in place of Darren O'Dea, and Eric Avila and Eric Hassli came into the team in place of Quincy Amarikwa and the suspended Ryan Johnson.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Freddy Hall - Jeremy Hall, Logan Emory (Adrian Cann 31), Richard Eckersley, Ashtone Morgan - Reggie Lambe, Aaron Maund, Terry Dunfield, Eric Avila - Luis Silva, Eric Hassli (Andrew Wiedeman 81).
  • Toronto FC equaled their club-record winless streak of 13 games – set earlier this season – in the scoreless draw with Montréal.
  • “What it does to young players is chip away at their confidence. You try to keep them bright, keep them jolly but it just chips away and you can see that at the end of the game today jitters were there again,” said TFC head coach Paul Mariner. “Luis [Silva] is in his rookie season, Aaron Maund – you can go through the team they are all learning on the job. We have been very unlucky, the only game I’ve been upset about was Philly away where we were terrible but other than that we have been in everything.”
  • TFC were also shut out in attack for a second consecutive match, the first time they’ve been blanked in backto-back games since March 24-31.
  • “I can’t wait for next season, can’t wait for January 19th when we get together and we are already working on the squad for next year so it is an exciting time,” said Mariner. “The type of football we played this year with the players we have got in isn’t near how we want to play. It’s baby steps with these guys and we are learning on the job.”
  • Eric Hässli was able to make a return to the lineup after missing three consecutive matches through injury, starting and playing 81 minutes.
  • “Everything is possible here – great facilities, great training grounds, medical staff, technical staff and the fans,” said Hässli. “Everybody around here works really hard, everybody wants to win, everybody wants to make the playoffs. We just have to stop talking and do it next year and get it done.”
  • Adrian Cann was also able to make his first appearance since Aug. 25, coming in for an injured Logan Emory after a half-hour.
  • On Wednesday, TFC concluded their CONCACAF Champions League campaign with a 1-0 loss to Santos Laguna in Torreón, Mexico. The game’s lone goal came from former MLS campaigner Herculez Gomez on 73 minutes.
  • Here’s the TFC team: Freddy Hall; Jeremy Hall, Richard Eckersley, Adrian Cann, Ashtone Morgan; Aaron Maund (Andrew Wiedeman 64), Terry Dunfield, Reggie Lambe, Luis Silva (Doneil Henry 82); Eric Avila, Ryan Johnson (Nicholas Lindsay 88)
  • Mariner ran out Reggie Lambe as a deep-lying striker underneath Ryan Johnson, then a diamond midfield with Aaron Maund protecting the back four, Terry Dunfield at the top and Eric Avila and Luis Silva on the flanks.
  • “It emphasized everybody’s strengths,” Mariner said. “We tried to get Jeremy [Hall] and Ashtone [Morgan] going forward. And it was paying dividends, certainly in the first half. I thought we were excellent in the first half. I just thought we got a little tired in the second half. I’m talking about a 1-0 loss against a very good team with multimillionaires playing on the Santos team and I felt we did very, very well. If we can play like that every week, we won’t be too bad.”
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