Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew | MLS Match Preview

TORONTO FC vs COLUMBUS CREW
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
May 31, 2014 (WEEK 13, MLS Game #117)
5 p.m. ET (TSN; TWCSN-OH)          

It’s the second meeting of the year for the Trillium Cup when Toronto FC entertain the Columbus Crew on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. TFC won in the first meeting between the teams, a 2-0 victory at Columbus in April. TFC return to league play after a draw with Montreal in the first leg of their Canadian Championship final at midweek; their last league match was a 2-2 draw at Sporting KC last week. The Crew put an end to a two-game losing slide in their last contest, a 2-0 home win vs. the Chicago Fire.

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REFEREE: Sorin Stoica. SAR (bench): George Gansner; JAR (opposite): Mark Cahen; 4th: Yusri Rudolf
MLS Career: 22 games; FC/gm: 28.2; Y/gm: 4.3; R: 10; pens: 13

SUSPENDED: TOR: Steven Caldwell (through June 1) … CLB: Federico HiguaÌn (through June 1)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CLB: Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Jackson
DISABLED LIST: CLB: Matthew Wiet
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: TOR: Michael Bradley (USA); Julio Cesar (BRA) … CLB: Waylon Francis, Giancarlo Gonzalez (CRC)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (20 meetings): Toronto FC 3 wins, 21 goals … Crew 10 wins, 30 goals … Ties 7
AT TORONTO (9 meetings): Toronto FC 1 win, 8 goals … Crew 3 wins, 10 goals … Ties 5
FUTURE MATCH: 8/9: Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Michael Bradley and Issey Nakajima-Farran scored goals to lead Toronto FC to a 2-0 victory on April 5 at Crew Stadium.
  • The Crew have lost to Toronto FC just three times in 20 meetings all-time. TFC’s 2-1 win last July 27 at BMO Field was their first win ever against the Crew on their home ground, after three losses and five draws.
  • Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen v CLB: P4 W2 L2 D0 … Gregg Berhalter vs. TOR: P1 W0 L1 D0

LAST MEETING
4/5: CLB 0, TOR 2 (Bradley 11; Nakajima-Farran 85)

  • Toronto FC opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Mark Bloom found a streaking Michael Bradley down the right side of the Columbus defense, and he took goalkeeper Steve Clark by surprise on a shot from a tight angle near the endline, putting it through the 'keeper's legs and into the far side netting.
  • TFC then put the game out of reach in the 85th minute when substitute forward Issey Nakajima-Farran found space on the counterattack and clipped home a Justin Morrow cross from the center of the box.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Steve Clark - Josh Williams (Justin Meram 67), Michael Parkhurst, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Waylon Francis - Wil Trapp, Tony Tchani (Jairo Arrieta 74) - Federico Higuain, Hector Jimenez, Bernardo Anor - Dominic Oduro (Ethan Finlay 81).
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Julio Cesar - Mark Bloom, Bradley Orr, Nick Hagglund, Justin Morrow - Jackson, Michael Bradley (Jeremy Hall 73), Kyle Bekker, Alvaro Rey (Andrew Wiedeman 78) - Dwayne De Rosario (Issey Nakajima-Farran 69), Gilberto.

TORONTO FC
Toronto FC made it two games without a loss with another quality result, getting a late equalizer for a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Friday evening at Sporting Park. TFC sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, with 13 points from 9 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Sporting took the lead just two minutes after the halftime restart. Dom Dwyer took the ball and turned in the TFC end and sent a pass to Sal Zizzo on the left wing. He raced to the top of the area for a return ball, which he then left-footed first-time just inside Joe Bendik's right post.
  • TFC went a man down in the 63rd minute when defender Steven Caldwell was shown a straight red card by referee Baldomero Toledo for a serious foul on Sporting's Antonio Dovale.
  • But despite being shorthanded, TFC leveled the score four minutes later, with Luke Moore finishing a through ball from Jermain Defoe from inside the area after a giveaway in midfield.
  • Sporting appeared to have hit for the game-winner in the 84th minute after TFC substitute Doneil Henry brought down Igor Juliao in the box, and Dwyer calmly converted the resulting penalty kick.
  • But in the first minute of stoppage time, after a free kick wasn't completely cleared, Nick Hagglund lofted a pass into the mixer and Bradley Orr headed it home from close range to salvage a draw and a road point for the Reds.
  • TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made one change to the team that defeated the New York Red Bulls 2-0 at BMO Field. Collen Warner came into the side in place of Jonathan Osorio.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Mark Bloom, Nick Hagglund, Steven Caldwell (ejected 63), Justin Morrow - Alvaro Rey (Luke Moore 53), Bradley Orr, Kyle Bekker (Daniel Lovitz 53), Collen Warner - Jermain Defoe, Gilberto (Doneil Henry 66)

TEAM NEWS

  • Jonathan Osorio was out with a hamstring strain, while Jackson was also out for a fourth consecutive match over all competitions with a concussion. Michael Bradley missed his second consecutive game while with the US national team.
  • “We had three of our starting midfield out, so we had a lot of absences.  ... We had three starting players out in three different positions and [SKC] had two out. So everybody’s made [a deal] about their injuries and we’ve got a few out as well. Since the start of the season we’ve only had to pick a starting 11, the actual starting 11, once.”
  • Collen Warner made his first start for Toronto FC following his trade from the Montreal Impact, first starting in a wide midfield role.
  • “Once we put Collen more in the middle, I think he showed why we brought Collen in. I think he was absolutely fantastic. He was actually our best player,” said Nelsen. “I thought he showed a lot of energy, a lot of drive and the intensity through his play and through his passion was extremely good and he has a desire and I couldn’t be more happier for him.”
  • Luke Moore scored his second goal in as many games since coming to Toronto FC, hitting for the opening goal after coming on as a substitute before the hour mark.
  • “He has settled in right away with the group. He shows qualities. He’s got the touch and he’s got presence. So I’m just really pleased for him to get that goal,” said defender Steven Caldwell. “And to be down to 10 men; you always usually defend and to score two goals in those circumstances is a great achievement by us.”
  • Gilberto made his 10th consecutive start over all competitions since coming to Toronto FC, but is still looking for his first goal with the club.
  • “We’ve got to pick [Gilberto] up. We’ve all been through it as players and we’ve all been through it in jobs. And when you move to a new country like that it’s very difficult, and we forget he’s only 24,” Nelsen said. “We know how good of a player he is and it’s our job to pick him up and obviously get his confidence up and get him going and it will. Maybe we could get a penalty one of these days and he can get on the scoreboard.”
  • On Wednesday, Toronto FC opened their Canadian Championship series against the Montreal Impact with a 1-1 draw in the first leg at BMO Field. Doneil Henry headed home a corner kick to give TFC the lead on 20 minutes, but Justin Mapp hit a stunning strike for the 73rd-minute equalizer.
  • Here’s the TFC team: Joe Bendik; Nick Hagglund, Steven Caldwell, Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan; Alvaro Rey (Justin Morrow 79’), Bradley Orr, Jeremy Hall (Kyle Bekker 76’), Daniel Lovitz; Dwayne De Rosario, Gilberto

COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew put a stop to their winless run after eight games, defeating the Chicago Fire 2-0 on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, with 13 points from 11 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Crew took the lead in the 10th minute. Ethan Finlay received a through ball from Federico Higuain, blew past a Fire defender, touched the ball around goalkeeper Sean Johnson to the right, and hit an off-balance shot at a tight angle just past the goalpost.
  • The Crew stretched the lead in the 25th minute, when Jairo Arrieta was provided another perfect pass from Higuain. He raced past a defender to go in one-on-one on goal, and squared to the goal before powering a shot between the 'keeper's legs.
  • Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter made two changes to the team that reached a 3-3 draw with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. Eric Gehrig and Ethan Finlay came into the team, in place of Josh Williams and Giancarlo Gonzalez.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Steve Clark - Hector Jimenez, Tyson Wahl, Eric Gehrig, Chad Barson (Michael Parkhurst 87) - Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp - Ethan Finlay, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram (Josh Williams 74) - Jairo Arrieta (Dominic Oduro 67).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Crew put an end to their eight-game winless streak ñ the club’s longest since its record 13-game run without a victory in 2006 – with the win against Chicago.
  • “I think we’ve been frustrated that we’ve been playing well and not getting the results. We’re still trying to focus on the product we’re creating and how we’re playing,” said Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter. “It’s nice when you get results. From that standpoint were happy. I think it was a good effort. Obviously we’re missing some guys but we did a great job.”
  • Federico Higuain recorded a pair of assists in the same game for the third time with the Crew, and reached 22 goals and 21 assists (in 54 appearances) for his MLS league career.
  • However, Higuain will miss the TFC match through suspension after receiving his fifth yellow card of the league campaign.
  • “You don’t replace Federico, simple as that. We get someone on the field that can play their game and we’re not going to ask someone to come in and play like Federico that would be foolish of us,” said Berhalter. “We’re going to ask someone to come in and play to the best of their ability. I’m confident that we are going to be able to get that out of someone.”
  • With Higuain, Ben Speas – who has yet to make a league appearance this season – could assume the playmaking mantle in the center of midfield.
  • “I like to play in the middle,” Speas said. “I like to create and play balls through... I think I’ve got the hang of the position for sure, where I need to be, when I need to get the ball and things like that. I feel like I've got a good understanding of it, and it's just a matter of doing it in the game.”
  • Ethan Finlay made his first start of the season in a wide right role and scored a goal for a second consecutive match, his first two goals in MLS.
  • “He was excellent. This game isn’t something that comes out of the blue. If we look at what he’s been doing these last couple of weeks, he’s been leading up to this,” said Berhalter. “I’m most happy with the fact that he was a guy that isn’t a starter, he works his way to the 18, he works his way to the starting lineup, then he performs like this. You can see the progression and he makes other guys believe there’s a chance.”
  • While Michael Parkhurst was back with the Crew following his release by the US national team, Eric Gehrig made his first start of the season, in central defense.
  • The Crew kept a clean sheet for the second time this season, the first since the 3-0 season-opening victory at D.C. United.
  • “It’s more important to win and I knew that if I continued to play the way that I play every game then shutouts are going to come and a lot of them,” said goalkeeper Steve Clark. “For me it’s about process not results all the time, especially in the goal keeping you have to keep your head and blinders on from distractions. Shutouts come and they go.”