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Massive Predictions: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC

We aren’t getting them right, but neither is Crew SC.

For those who have lost count, it’s been 45 days since Columbus Crew SC last won a Major League Soccer match. That was a 4-3 result over Real Salt Lake back in late May.

Since that point, the club is 0-3-2 and is the second worse team in the league’s standings. What is remarkable is the Black & Gold are only six points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and have two games against East foes at home this week.

The attention first is on Wednesday night’s match with Toronto FC, a game some in the club are calling a must win.

TFC comes into MAPFRE Stadium likely without two of the team’s stars in Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore. Goalkeeper Clint Irwin, who has started 15 games this year, is also out with quad injury.

Also, last year’s MLS Most Valuable Player, Sebastian Giovinco, is struggling to find the net. Although he played well and came close in the last match, it seems not having Bradley out there to help take some of the defensive pressure off him is causing issues. Needless to say, this is a good time to take on the Reds.

More good news for Crew SC is the two sides have already met once this season. It was the match right before the last win and it was a 0-0 draw in Toronto in contest that Columbus controlled but was unable to find the back of the net.

With forward Ola Kamara on a scoring tear right now, eight goals in his last 11 matches, can this time around be different? Will the players back up their words of how important this week is and start things off with a victory? Let’s see what our staff — including our newest member Nathaniel Marhefka — thinks about this tilt.

Josh Mlot

A quick turnaround is good, as is returning home to MAPFRE. Beyond that, it's hard to feel great about things right now, unless that thing is named Ola Kamara. It seems like Columbus tends to play hold up well against Toronto, though, at least in my memory of the past couple of seasons. With that in mind, I'll go with a draw. Another Kamara goal (why not?) and a Sebastian Giovinco free-kick goal for TFC. This could be a long week, though.

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Patrick Murphy

It’s tough to know what to think about this team. Part of me is really beginning to believe that this year’s Crew SC, with the injuries and departures, just isn’t going to be any good. Then I think back to what talent there is on this team if things start clicking. I also remember what I’ve heard from the players this week, who really seem to believe that a turnaround starts now. If they believe, should I? Chalk it up to the recent Ohio sports dominance over Toronto, but I think the Black & Gold get a win in this one. Then the attention turns towards Saturday and getting something rolling.

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Matt Weisgarber

Good grief Charlie Brown. I'm torn on this. I want to see Crew SC win because long before I was a blogger I was a fan. But if they lose, the rifts we’re starting to see in the clubhouse could become a chasm and it could provide fantastic sound bites and more tweets from the apparently volatile owner. I see Columbus rallying the troops, giving their all and playing inspired soccer Wednesday. Until they concede a goal. Then I expect them to unravel as they have the last few years under Berhalter when facing adversity.

Sam Fahmi

If the Columbus Crew SC do not come out for this game, they won't come out for any other game. I really hope I'm wrong.

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Nathaniel Marhefka

This game marks the critical point of the season for Crew SC: Win and the team could put themselves in position to take 7th or 8th place over D.C. United during the weekend. Lose and the team risks falling rock bottom of the table below Chicago who still has a game in hand.

On the Canadian end, Toronto have had trouble scoring goals of late and have been extremely inconsistent defensively. Injuries have certainly not been helping the cause and TFC will be without three starters.

I expect Gregg Berhalter to set his team up to attack with fury. I have suspicion that the team will lineup in a different tactical setup if not a different XI from weeks past. I think Berhalter realizes changes must be made - At least, I hope.

Looking at recent fixtures, the teams that have taken games to Toronto (Orlando, New York Red Bulls, and Vancouver) have all scored three or more goals against Greg Vanney’s team. Not mention, Toronto have not won away from home in nearly three months. If Berhalter sets his team up to take the game to them with conviction, I think we can expect Columbus to follow suit and grab a win at home.

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Kris Landis

I wish I felt anything but a sense of dread about this game. I hate losing to TFC. I just hate it. But I can't see any other result. Crew SC's backline was a shambles last match, and even with Tyson Wahl returning I am not entirely sure I have faith for this unit to set it right. This team still hasn't figured out how to play without Pipa, and Dilly Duka isn't likely to be the answer. I expect this to be the Giovinco show, and it's not going to be a pleasant one for Crew fans.

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Patrick Guldan

I think the challenge is getting squad rotation right. Berhalter doesn’t want to grind down his short roster, but he also needs results. Does he think he might be able to get full points against Toronto or does D..C give the better shot. It might be Toronto, a team that is missing players all over the field, especially Bradley. Crew SC will need a good game out of the midfield, especially at attacking midfield. Without Federico Higuain, now is the time to turn to Dilly Duka. Mohammed Saied just isn’t mobile enough, Cristian Martinez is away from the team, and Hector Jimenez… well he shouldn’t be in the conversation. If there’s a solid game out of whoever pulls the strings, Crew SC wins.

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