Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew | MLS Match Preview

TORONTO FC vs COLUMBUS CREW
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
July 27, 2013 (WEEK 22, MLS Game #195) 2 p.m. ET (TSN; FS-OH)

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Blacked out in Columbus. (Watch on FOX Sports Ohio)

It’s the second meeting for the Trillium Cup this season when Toronto FC look for some home success against the Columbus Crew when the clubs face off at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon. TFC has never won against the Crew at home in eight meetings all-time. Toronto FC saw their winless run stretched to six games last weekend in a scoreless home draw with New York, while the Crew are coming off a late 2-0 home loss to New England.

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REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. AR1 (bench): Peter Manikowski; AR2 (opposite): Jason Cullum; 4th: Robert Sibiga
MLS Career: 17 games; FC/gm: 24.4; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 5; pens: 7

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Darel Russell
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Doneil Henry, Matias Laba, Gale Agbossoumonde … CLB: Federico Higuain, Jairo Arrieta, Tyson Wahl, Kevan George, Danny O’Rourke
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (17 meetings): Toronto FC 1 win, 17 goals … Crew 9 wins, 27 goals … Ties 7
AT TORONTO (8 meetings): Toronto FC 0 wins, 6 goals … Crew 3 wins, 9 goals … Ties 5
FUTURE MATCH: 8/17: Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. ET

  • The teams are playing for the second time this season. Dominic Oduro’s first-half goal gave the Crew a 1-0 victory May 18 at BMO Field.
  • In 17 all-time meetings between the teams, Toronto FC have won just once -- a 4-2 win Sept. 10, 2011 at Columbus Crew Stadium, which ended a 12-game TFC winless run vs. Columbus.
  • The Crew have never lost at BMO Field, winning on each of their last two visits. The teams had played to five successive draws in Toronto before the Crew won in their only meeting there last season.
  • Coaches record: Robert Warzycha vs. TOR: P11 W6 L1 D4 … Ryan Nelsen v CLB: : P1 W1 L0 D0

LAST MEETING (MLS)
5/18: TOR 0, CLB 1 (Oduro 42)

  • The game's lone goal came in the 42nd minute. Federico Higuaín sent a pinpoint pass that split the TFC defense and Dominic Oduro ran onto it before lashing home a low shot from just inside the area to beat goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
  • Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum was called upon to make three saves in keeping the clean sheet.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-1-1): Joseph Bendik - Ryan Richter, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Darren O'Dea - Reggie Lambe (Jeremy Brockie 64), Matias Laba, Jeremy Hall (Jonathan Osorio 57), Justin Braun (Bobby Convey 46) - Luis Silva - Robert Earnshaw.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Josh Williams, Eric Gehrig, Glauber, Tyson Wahl (Chad Barson 83) - Eddie Gaven, Tony Tchani, Matias Sanchez, Justin Meram (Ethan Finlay 79) - Federico Higuain - Dominic Oduro (Aaron Schoenfeld 85).

TORONTO FC
Toronto FC saw their winless run extended to six games, playing to a scoreless draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. TFC sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points from 20 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Chances were few and far between, mainly coming after the break. Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles was called upon to make three saves on the day, while TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik needed to make just one save.
  • TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made three changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Chivas USA at StubHub Center. Doneil Henry came into central defense in place of Gale Agbossoumonde, Jeremy Hall started in midfield for Darel Russell, and Jeremy Brockie started up top for Robert Earnshaw.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Richard Eckersley, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Ashtone Morgan - Jonathan Osorio, Matias Laba, Jeremy Hall, Bobby Convey - Jeremy Brockie, Justin Braun (Reggie Lambe 87).

TEAM NEWS

  • Toronto FC were shut out at the attacking end for a third consecutive match. They have now gone 336 minutes without scoring a goal, the sixth-longest drought in MLS this season. D.C. United went 407 minutes without scoring from June 22-July 20, the longest in MLS this season.
  • “We’re not going to push any panic buttons over one or two weeks,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said. “Unfortunately, guys who can put the ball in the net don’t grow on trees. You can go out there and take a risk on certain players, but that is what has happened here in the past."
  • It’s now been more than a year since Toronto FC won at BMO Field. Their only home victory since last July 18, when they defeated Colorado 2-1, came on March 9 of this year – a 2-1 win against Sporting Kansas City at Rogers Centre.
  • “They had a couple of awkward games and difficult results out west and had to fly a long distance and then play a team like New York who were coming off a 4-0 win over Montreal. All the odds were against them,” Nelsen said. “ … I think a bit of fatigue and being so tired prevented the players from having that extra step and that extra yard to create the necessary space to finish them off. We got into really good positions and if we had been a little more fresh, we might have been all right.”
  • After three missed appearances while with the Canadian national team, Doneil Henry returned to central defense, alongside Steven Caldwell. With the transfer of Darren O’Dea, Caldwell is now wearing the captain’s armband.
  • “He's like a general back there,” fullback Ashtone Morgan said of Caldwell. “For the rest of us it’s actually a comfort having him there because he cleans the ball up, always vocal and keeps us sharp for 90 minutes.”
  • Jeremy Hall made his first start since June 29, coming into the center of midfield. Hall had made two substitute appearances over the previous three matches.
  • Justin Braun made his first since May 18, coming in to partner Jeremy Brockie up top as Robert Earnshaw was sidelined with a hamstring injury.
  • “I would be really concerned if we weren’t in the positions to score goals, but we were,” Nelsen said.” … We got in good positions it was just that final ball and that final little bit of quality that is needed when you’re a bit more fresh. It’s always a concern when you’re not scoring but I can’t fault the two guys cause they worked so hard and they tried and they got in positions.”

READ: Toronto FC announce signing of Spanish midfielder Alvaro Rey

COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew couldn’t make it back-to-back home wins, the New England Revolution scoring two late goals for a 2-0 win Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 23 points from 20 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Both goals came after the full 90 minutes had ticked over. A minute into stoppage time, Lee Nguyen sent a corner to the back post where Jose Goncalves headed home between the legs of Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.
  • Three minutes later, the Crew turned it over in their own end and Nguyen slid a pass to Diego Fagundez, who then sealed the win with a firm strike from inside the area.
  • Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made one change to the team that defeated the Portland Timbers 1-0 at Crew Stadium. Andy Gruenebaum came back in between the posts in place of Matt Lampson.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-3-1-2): Andy Gruenebaum - Josh Williams, Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall, Chad Barson - Konrad Warzycha, Wil Trapp, Bernardo Anor (Ryan Finley 85) - Federico Higuain - Dominic Oduro (Ethan Finlay 89), Aaron Schoenfeld (Ben Speas 36).

READ: Crew on gut-wrenching loss to conference foe Revolution "not easy to take"

TEAM NEWS

  • The Crew lost for the fifth time in the last seven games in their 2-0 defeat by New England at Crew Stadium, their fourth loss in 10 home games this season.
  • “I would say it's bad results, I wouldn't say it's bad games,” said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. “If you look at the games we played most of the time we outplayed the teams that we play here. The likes of New York, maybe Colorado was the toughest game. But if you think about the other games, whether it's Montreal, or the other games, I think we played pretty good.”
  • Aaron Schoenfeld started a second consecutive match alongside Dominic Oduro as Warzycha ran out a twinstriker scheme, but Schoenfeld was forced to come off after just a half-hour with an injury.
  • “We tried to go Dominic [Oduro] on the right and [Aaron] Schoenfeld on the left, Pipa [Higuain] and the two central midfielders going forward as much as possible,” Warzycha said. “We generated some offense, got some corner kicks, and some free kicks around the box and that's what we want to do.”
  • Andy Gruenebaum returned to the lineup in goal after a one-match absence due to a shoulder injury, replacing Matt Lampson, who was coming off his first career MLS shutout.
  • “We created a lot of chances before but didn't score any goals,” said Warzycha. “Obviously we had quality chances when we played in the previous formation but [in this formation] we didn't allow the opposition to create as many chances as they used to. In the game tonight they didn't create too much until they scored a goal.”
  • Wil Trapp started a second consecutive match in a central midfield role, joined by Konrad Warzycha, who was also making his second consecutive start.
  • “In the beginning part of the game when we were playing the 4-3-3, I was more just sitting in front of Danny [O’Rourke] and Chad [Marshall] and just trying to build the attack,” Trapp said. “When we switched the 4-4-2, I had more freedom to move forward. That was when we were trying to score and move the numbers forward.”
  • The elimination of Costa Rica at the quarterfinal stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup means Jairo Arrieta will be available for the Toronto FC match.
  • “I think you can see who we have on the field and who we have on the bench. We are missing [Jairo] Arrieta and [Eddie] Gaven, two guys who scored 18 goals last season, the two best goal scorers for us,” said Warzycha. “So that definitely is hurting us. The other guys, I mean, this is a young team, they'll learn the ropes and I'm sure they are going to be good, but in this moment we came up short.”