Columbus Crew SC is trying to rebound after last week’s loss to the Chicago Fire and face another potent offense of Toronto FC. Lead by Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley, The Reds hosted MLS Cup in December and have rebounded from heartbreak to an unbeaten 1-4-0 record this season.
Altidore has two goals and two assists to lead the team in the young season. The American forward carried over his good form from the national team to his play with Toronto. The Italian maestro Giovinco has yet to start firing on at full power, tallying a goal and yet to record an assist. He consistently shows flashes of genius and has been a little unlucky not to have more goals.
The task of keeping track of the dynamic Reds attack will fall to Artur and Crew SC captain Wil Trapp. Trapp is expected to make his 100th appearance for the team. Crew SC will still have to do without Designated Player center back Jonathan, who is still recovering from his hamstring strain. Alex Crognale is likely to deputize for the third straight game.
Columbus is also expected to welcome Federico Higuain and Harrison Afful back into the lineup after they were held out because of an ankle injury and hand surgery respectively.
Keys to the Match
Giovinco: The Toronto offense has many weapons, but none are as dangerous as Giovinco. Columbus will need to counteract the mobile threat who is equally able to create with a magic pass or finish a chance himself. The task will likely fall to Artur, who has already shut down some powerful attackers this season.
Reinforcements: The Crew SC offense desperately missed Higuain. His expected return means that Columbus should be in a more familiar 4-2-3-1. That is vital as the team lacked defensive and offensive spacing last week.
First of Manneh: Kekuta Manneh is ready for his debut after arriving from Vancouver. He isn’t likely to be a starter, but the team could certainly use an impact offensive player late.
How to Watch:
Date/Time: Saturday April 15th, 8:00 p.m. ET
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Watch: The CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2 (Channel Guide)
Stream: MLS Live
Listen: CD102.5 FM (English) La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)