Three straight home draws might look a little better following Columbus Crew SC’s showing on Sunday night. The Black & Gold fell 3-0 to Toronto FC, a team it tied 1-1 two weeks previous, in a lackluster performance.
It didn’t take long for Toronto to get on the board in this game. The scoresheet will show Tsubasa Endoh’s name, but the TFC midfielder didn’t know much about the goal.
After Tony Tchani was dispossessed in his own defensive third, Toronto’s Jordan Hamilton touched the loose ball to Endoh who quickly found Sebastian Giovinco. The tiny Italian hit a shot that clipped the head of Endoh, deflecting it up and into the far corner for a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the contest.
Shortly after, Crew SC had two good chances to pull level a minutes apart.
In the 13th minute, Federico Higuain — who made his first start since June 1 after sports hernia surgery — chipped a pass into the box looking for Ola Kamara. The forward timed his run and attempted an acrobatic aerial kick that ended up in the hands of TFC goalkeeper Alex Bono.
The save ended up inconsequential as Kamara was ruled offside on the play.
One minute later, following midfielder Justin Meram winning a free kick in the attacking third, Higuain played a ball into the 18-yard box. Kamara sent a header back across goal that winger Cedrick Mabwati finished, but he also was called offside.
Twenty-four minutes into the match and Giovinco claimed his goal for certain. The Reds’ No. 10 played a ball into the feet of teammate Jay Chapman and continued his run forward. No Columbus player tracked Giovinco, resulting in a quick return pass from Chapman. Giovinco quickly curled a shot by goalkeeper Steve Clark with the outside of his right foot for a 2-0 advantage.
The teams went into the halftime break with that score on the board.
Following the intermission, Black & Gold head coach Gregg Berhalter made a change, bringing Ethan Finlay on for Cedrick, searching for a spark.
Ten minutes into the second half and Finlay nearly helped Crew SC pull one goal back. A floated ball into the Toronto penalty area found the head of the winger, who powered it down to the feet of Kamara. The forward attempt to collect and finish, but could not control the ball.
Four minutes later and Giovinco had three chances to double his tally on the night. The forward’s first effort in behind the defense was saved by Clark. The rebound hit Giovinco and deflected off the post. A second rebound was another shot by the Italian, which again hit the post as TFC’s lead remained at only two.
With three minute left in the match, Toronto closed out the contest. Giovinco found second half substitute Jozy Altidore — who continues to work his way back to fitness after a lengthy injury — in the penalty area. The forward was closed down by Columbus’ Michael Parkhurst, but fired a shot that deflected off the defender and by Clark for the final scoreline.
Crew SC’s winless streak now extends to nine matches, dating back to a 4-3 win over Real Salt Lake on May 28. The Black & Gold fall to 0-7-3 away from MAPFRE Stadium this year, marking the second-longest road winless streak to start a season in club history.
Columbus has a week off to attempt to improve things before welcoming New York City FC to town on August 13.