Preview: Crew look to stay unbeaten against Toronto FC

COLUMBUS CREW vs TORONTO FC
September 10, 2011
7:30 pm ET, (ONN; GolTV Can.; WATCH LIVE ONLINE)
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio

The Columbus Crew return home to Crew Stadium aiming to keep their record intact when they meet Toronto FC in the second Trillium Cup game of the season. The Crew have never lost to their Canadian rivals in 12 meetings all-time. But Columbus is coming off a club-record equaling loss, a 6-2 reverse at Seattle Sounders FC. Toronto FC are coming off a 1-1 home draw with the San Jose Earthquakes in their last match.

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REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): C.J. Morgante; JAR (opposite): Frank Anderson; 4th: Jasen Anno. MLS Career: 120 games; FC/gm: 24.6; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 29; pens: 40

INJURY REPORT

  • COLUMBUS CREW – OUT: MF Tony Tchani (R knee surgery); MF Eddie Gaven (R lower leg contusion); GK Andy Gruenebaum (R thumb fracture); DOUBTFUL: GK Alex Riggs (concussion); QUESTIONABLE: MF Bernardo Anor (R ankle sprain); ?PROBABLE: MF Rich Balchan (L adductor strain); DF Shaun Francis (R adductor strain); FW Jeff Cunningham (R knee inflammation)
  • TORONTO FC – OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); DF Adrian Cann (R knee surgery recovery); DF Dicoy Williams (R knee surgery recovery); DOUBTFUL: DF Demitrius Omphroy (R knee swelling); QUESTIONABLE: DF Dasan Robinson (L adductor tightness); FW Danny Koevermans (L hamstring tightness)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CLB: Kevin Burns, Tommy Heinemann … TOR: Danleigh Borman
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: William Hesmer, Sebastian Miranda, Dejan Rusmir, Tony Tchani … TOR: Terry Dunfield, Ryan Johnson, Javier Martina, Mikael Yourassowsky

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (12 meetings): Crew 5 wins, 19 goals …Toronto FC 0 wins, 11 goals … Ties 7
  • AT CREW STADIUM (5 meetings): Crew 4 wins, 12 goals … Toronto FC 0 wins, 5 goals … Ties 2
  • In the first meeting this season, TFC’s Tony Tchani and Columbus striker Emilio Renteria scored on either side of halftime as the teams played to a 1-1 draw, April 23 at BMO Field.
  • Toronto FC have never recorded a victory against Columbus, in 12 meetings all-time. The teams have played to seven draws overall – including each of the last five games at BMO Field.
  • Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer scored a last-minute equalizer in the second meeting a year ago, keeping the Crew’s unbeaten record intact against TFC. It was the second goal scored by a goalkeeper in MLS history.
  • The teams are playing for the Trillium Cup, awarded by the supporters’ groups of both clubs.
  • Coaches record: Robert Warzycha v TOR: P5 W2 L0 D4 … Aron Winter vs. CLB: P1 W0 L0 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • 4/23: TOR 1, CLB 1 (Tchani 41 – Renteria 49)
  • Winless all-time vs. their Trillium Cup foes, Toronto FC took the lead in the 41st minute. Tony Tchani latched on to a through ball from Julian de Guzman and coolly slotted his second career goal past Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer.
  • But before the match restarted he was sent off, having earned his second yellow card for leaping into the BMO Field crowd in celebration after he earned a first during a scrap with the Crew’s Kevin Burns in the 37th minute.
  • The Crew took advantage of the man-up situation just four minutes into the second half. Emilio Renteria scored his first goal of the season, sending a glancing header inside the far post from a Sebastian Miranda cross.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - Dan Gargan, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann, Danleigh Borman - Jacob Peterson, Julian de Guzman, Tony Tchani (sent off 41), Maicon Santos (Joao Plata 77) - Alan Gordon (Mikael Yourassowsky 46), Javier Martina (Richard Eckersley 64).
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): William Hesmer - Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Rich Balchan - Kevin Burns (Dejan Rusmir 63), Emmanuel Ekpo (Tommy Heinemann 46) - Dilly Duka, Eddie Gaven, Robbie Rogers - Emilio Renteria (Andres Mendoza 74).

COLUMBUS CREW

The Columbus Crew saw their brief two-game winning streak come to a crashing halt, in a 6-2 defeat by Seattle Sounders FC on Aug. 27 at CenturyLink Field. The Crew have 40 points from 27 games on the season, still atop the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Seattle took the lead after just four minutes, when Lamar Neagle was freed on the left, drove into the area and hit a low shot that Crew goalkeeper Will Hesmer failed to corral. Mauro Rosales doubled the lead in the 16th minute from the penalty spot, after the Crew's Rich Balchan handled the ball at the edge of the penalty area.
  • Sounders FC made it 3-0 in the 21st minute when Neagle calmly turned home a cross from James Riley from the right side of the area. Then Mike Fucito made it 4-0 five minutes before the halftime break, taking a pass from Rosales in the goalmouth and quickly spinning past Hesmer to deposit the ball into the goal.
  • The Crew pulled a goal back just before the hour mark when Jeff Cunningham converted a penalty kick for his landmark goal, after Emilio Rentería was fouled in the area. But Neagle completed his hat trick in the 70th minute, a thumping drive from the edge of the area that hit the underside of the crossbar and just cleared the goal line before bouncing back out.
  • Josh Gardner scored the Crew's second in the 73th minute with a searing free kick that dipped and dove past Kasey Keller in the Sounders FC goal. But then Gardner scored at the other end of the park, turning a cross from the left into his own goal to complete the scoreline.
  • Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made two changes to the team that defeated Philadelphia Union 2-1 at Crew Stadium. Rich Balchan came into the back four for Julius James, and Dilly Duka started in midfield for Justin Meram.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-1-3-2): William Hesmer - Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Rich Balchan, Josh Gardner - Kevin Burns - Dilly Duka (Jeff Cunningham 57), Emmanuel Ekpo, Robbie Rogers - Andres Mendoza (Tommy Heinemann 56), Emilio Renteria (Justin Meram 76).

TEAM NEWS

  • The six goals allowed by Columbus matched the most in a single game in club history – the only previous occasion occurring in the Crew’s fourth game ever, a 6-4 loss to Kansas City (May 2,1996) – and marked the second consecutive four-goal loss in Seattle (0-4 last Sept. 18).
  • “The goals we gave up today are not the best ones. We made a lot of mistakes and they punished us. I think it was fortunate for Seattle that they scored easy goals today,” said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha.
  • It also matched the largest margin of defeat in club history – the last occasion on the Crew’s last visit to Seattle, when they lost 4-0 to Sounders FC.
  • “It was a like a perfect storm of everything that could go wrong, went wrong. There’s not much to take from it. It happens once in a while. We’re totally looking ahead, moving on,” said center back Chad Marshall.
  • The only bright spot was Jeff Cunningham becoming the all-time leader in goals scored in MLS league play with 135, passing the total of Jaime Moreno, who retired after last season.
  • “Fourteen years is a long time in this league and to become the all-time scoring leader is a great honor,” Cunningham said. “There have been some great players who are part of this league, and I’m just honored to be a part of their group in terms of goal production. I’m very humbled [to be among the likes of] Jamie Moreno, Brian McBride, Landon Donovan, and all those guys. The list goes on and I’m just honored to be grouped with those guys.”
  • Cunningham almost did not make the trip, having not played since July 23. “There was a good chance I was going to have surgery this week with the problems with my (right) knee,” he said. “It was a question at one point if I could continue with my season.”
  • Said Warzycha: “He probably would have been out three weeks and come back for the last few weeks. The doctors made the right decision. He got better and was sharp in practice this week. That’s why I brought him to Seattle.”
  • Josh Gardner became the fourth player in MLS history to score a goal, and be credited with an own goal, in the same game. Coincidentally, all four occasions have happened in the last four seasons: Jack Jewsbury (KC vs. NE, 4/9/08); Bryan Namoff (DC vs. COL, 7/18/09); Edson Buddle (LA v COL, 10/16/00).
  • After starting the first 23 matches of the league campaign, Eddie Gaven has missed the past three games after suffering a leg contusion. But the week off has put him in contention for a place against Toronto FC.
  • “I hope he is going to be ready to be on the bench,” Warzycha said. “It is going to be difficult to start him, depending how (this) week is going to go.”
  • Emmanuel Ekpo made his senior national team debut for Nigeria, playing 20 minutes in a 3-1 loss to Argentina in Bangladesh on Tuesday.
  • Julius James played 90 minutes for Trinidad and Tobago in a 2-0 win over Barbados in a World Cup qualifier Friday, then another 90 in Tuesday’s game against Bermuda.
  • Robbie Rogers started and played 67 minutes for the USA in the 1-0 loss to Costa Rica, then played 45 minutes in the 1-0 loss to Belgium.

TORONTO FC

Toronto FC returned home and rebounded from a loss, gaining a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Aug. 27 at BMO Field. TFC has 24 points from 25 games on the season, sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • TFC took the lead in the 33nd minute on a fortuitous bounce. A slide tackle by San Jose captain Ramiro Corrales on TFC's Peri Marosevic knocked the ball away, but right into the path of Eric Avila, and he penetrated the right side of the area before tucking a right-footed shot inside the far left post.
  • But San Jose hit for the leveler three minutes from full time. A long throw-in from the left side by second half substitute Jacob Peterson was flicked on by defender Bobby Burling to the far post, where Chris Wondolowski was wide open to turn it home.
  • TFC head coach Aron Winter made three changes to the team that went down to a 2-0 loss to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Ty Harden and Ashtone Morgan came into the back and Eric Avila started in midfield, in place of Matt Stinson, Danleigh Borman and Javier Martina.
  • TORONTO FC (4-1-2-3): Milos Kocic - Richard Eckersley, Andy Iro, Ty Harden, Ashtone Morgan - Julian de Guzman - Torsten Frings, Eric Avila (Eddy Viator 84) - Peri Marosevic (Matt Stinson 58), Ryan Johnson, Joao Plata (Danleigh Borman 88).

TEAM NEWS

  • Toronto FC have allowed 10 goals from crosses this year, by far most in the league. They have also conceded seven goals from corner kicks this season, tied with New York for the most in MLS.
  • “A throw-in from an opponent, one of our guys is not marking his man and everybody knows what he has to do, and the game is given away so easily,” head coach Aron Winter said. “Two games, right behind each other, that you make exactly the [same] mistakes. Everybody can make mistakes but then you have to learn about it and don't do it anymore. That's why I don't like them and why I'm upset.”
  • Toronto FC have also allowed a league-high 49 goals, winning just once in league play since the start of July.
  • “Normally you should learn from these mistakes but when they happen over and over again, it's very frustrating,” Julian de Guzman said. “It's hard to swallow. It's also important for each individual to take a look at themselves and ask 'how professional am I? Am I ready for this?' These are crucial moments in any soccer game that can turn things around and it always goes against us.”
  • Milos Kocic played a third consecutive league game in goal, in place of the injured Stefan Frei. Kocic has also played all four TFC games in the CONCACAF Champions League.
  • “It's been a long two years without playing consistently for Toronto FC," Kocic said. “But playing these games has helped my confidence, helped me feel more relaxed in the field."
  • Kocic had not appeared in MLS this season until Frei went down with injury before the Aug. 13 game vs. Real Salt Lake. He played in two league matches a year ago, making one start.
  • “It’s better this way because I had to fight for everything,” Kocic said. “Stef is a great goalkeeper. He’s consistent, he’s not going to make many mistakes and it’s going to be much harder for me to get a spot on the team. I like that, I like fighting for something. I don’t like getting stuff easy.”
  • Julian de Guzman played 90 minutes in the 4-1 CONCACAF World Cup qualification victory against Saint Lucia last week. De Guzman then played 90 minutes in the 3-0 win over Puerto Rico, while Terry Dunfield played 62 minutes.
  • Ryan Johnson played 69 minutes for Jamaica in a 2-0 friendly loss to Colombia on Tuesday. The weekend before, Johnson entered the match at halftime in a 5-2 loss to Ecuador in Quito.
  • Javier Martina earned his first senior international cap for Curacao in a 4-2 loss to Haiti on Tuesday in Willemstad. He was an unused substitute in the 5-2 loss away to Antigua and Barbuda.