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Massive Predictions: Columbus Crew SC at Toronto FC

Think we can get the start of the Trillium Cup right? Let's take a look.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC have owned this series over the first eight years of Toronto FC's existence, but these days things are moving in TFC's favor. Despite winning back the Trillium Cup a year ago and making an appearance in the MLS Cup Final, the Black & Gold have just two wins through 10 games.

They say in rivalry games, you can throw out the records so maybe that's in Crew SC's favor.

Toronto will be without U.S. striker Jozy Altidore in this one, but they still boast Sebastian Giovinco and his eight goals and five assists and U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley who is the engine in the center of the park.

TFC enter this game without a win in two matches. After winning the first game of the season at home (BMO Field underwent renovations that meant beginning the season with eight consecutive road games) against FC Dallas, the Reds lost 4-3 to the Vancouver Whitecaps and drew 1-1 with New York City FC, all within the last week.

On the other side, Crew SC hasn't won a game since late April, going 0-1-2 in the process. Will this be a turnaround for the Black & Gold? Let's see what our staff thinks about this contest and leave your thoughts in the comment below.

Patrick Murphy

This is a tough one to call. Toronto is the better team on paper, but Crew SC is better than the numbers reflect. After the departure of Kei Kamara, the Black & Gold are relearning how to play without the 22-goal scorer. How quickly they get back to the 2014 style of play will go a long way in determining when this team starts winning games.

No Jozy Altidore for TFC is big, but the bigger issue is Sebastian Giovinco. The Italian is tiny, but an incredible talent and he will be a focus of Columbus' defensive efforts. I see this one opening up a bit and being an entertaining affair. Still not a win for the Black & Gold, but a draw on the road.
Columbus Crew SC 2  Toronto FC 2

Josh Mlot

There are things I like about the way Columbus matches up with Toronto, but I'm just not convinced just yet. The road has always been tricky for Crew SC, and Sebastian Giovinco presents a daunting challenge. I think it's still going to take a week or two for the Columbus attack to figure out how to best operate following the changes. But, based on history, my prediction otherwise all but assures the Black & Gold points.
Toronto FC 2  Columbus Crew SC 1

Matt Weisgarber

In baseball they say "the season doesn't start until Memorial Day." With the Crew SC, it feels like the season doesn't start until the Trillium Cup. Both teams are without the forwards they started the year with, but I don't think that means there will be a lack of attacking. A matchup to watch will be Mohammed Saied vs. Sebastian Giovinco. Saeid kept him in his pocket the majority of the first meeting last year (albeit Toronto only had 10 men). I think Giovinco gets his shots and passes off, so Columbus will have to make sure they don't give any space to the other attacking players. I like what I saw out of the Columbus attack last week and if Cedrick Mabwati starts again, I expect him to wreak havoc. He's showing signs he can beat most fullbacks 1 vs. 1.
Columbus Crew SC 2  Toronto 1

Patrick Guldan

This prediction is likely a bit of wishful thinking. The defense is prone to giving up good chances and Sebastian Giovinco and company can convert good chances. The Toronto defense doesn't give up too many chances and Columbus struggles to create good chances. So while the irresistible force of the Toronto offense faces the permeable Crew SC defense, the stunted Crew SC offense faces the suddenly formidable Reds back line.

So how does Crew SC come away with a tie? A bit of luck and a trend towards improvement. The team is a little more settled with Ola Kamara leading the linem while Federico Higuain will enjoy his match with the opposing midfield. He will either get his chances or keep Michael Bradley too busy to create his own. That Black & Gold defense isn't good enough to pitch a shutout, but will disrupt enough to hold Giovinco and company to limited chances.
Columbus Crew SC 1  Toronto FC 1

Sam Fahmi

I don't know. I wish I knew what this team will look like. At the very least, I expect Columbus Crew SC to come out like they did against Colorado. If they manage to keep Sebastian Giovinco and Michael Bradley at bay, they may actually have a shot at winning this game. Best case scenario in this game would be a tie against an improved TFC side. Cedric Mabwati may provide enough pressure to free up others to score. I wouldn't be surprised if we also see new signee Cristian Martinez. He doesn't need time to gel in as he has been with the team for several weeks already.
Columbus Crew SC 2  Toronto FC 2

Andrew Todd-Smith

While I do anticipate Columbus playing a talented Toronto FC team competitively and physically on the road, I find it unrealistic to expect a Crew SC win at this point. Sebastian Giovinco is going to be a continual threat in the attacking third and the corps of Reds midfielders will work to ensure he gets lots of scoring opportunities. He gets an assist at a bare minimum. Even if the Black & Gold can muster enough moxie and defensive creativity to win more aerials in the box, interceptions and tackles, I don't trust them to keep TFC off the scoreboard. The tendency to concede so much so often on set piece is troubling. Should be very entertaining to watch a Trillium Cup clash between very talented No. 10s in Federico Higuaín and Michael Bradley anchoring their respective midfields. I like a 2-2 scoreline to happen if Columbus can play as well out of the gate as it did against Colorado and continue to solidify its offensive identity without Kei Kamara.
Columbus Crew SC 2  Toronto FC 2