It’s the second match of the week for Columbus Crew SC. The Black & Gold defeated the New England Revolution 2-0 on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium and now welcomes Trillium Cup rivals Toronto FC to Ohio’s capital.
The Reds also played over the weekend, although Greg Vanney’s side had to travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Sounders. Despite resting some key players, including Designated Player Sebastian Giovinco, TFC managed to get some revenge over the team that defeated them in last year’s MLS Cup Final by a 1-0 scoreline.
A big question in this match is what will both sides look like? With the match congestion — both teams play again on Saturday — it’s reasonable to assume there will be more squad rotation. Vanney recently claimed he has the deepest team in Major League Soccer, something Gregg Berhalter brought up unprompted this week as he likely believes his group might have something to say about that.
Crew SC already defeated Toronto this year, 2-1 just three and a half weeks ago, so a win in this game would seal the season series and lock up the Trillium Cup for the Black & Gold.
Keys to the Match:
Managing fatigue: Both of these teams are going to be tired after playing on Saturday. While there will be some squad rotation, it won’t be every player which means the mental game will start to go as the match progresses. Whichever team can stay strong and hold off the other late in the game may be able to grab a late winner.
Wolff pack: Gregg Berhalter will not be on the sideline for this game after he was ejected late against New England. While he wouldn’t say who would be his substitute head coach, it will likely be assistant Josh Wolff who has been talked about as an MLS head coach, has interviewed for jobs and has been with Berhalter since the beginning. Whoever is in charge will need to make smart in-game decisions in order to make sure the Black & Gold walks out with all three points.
Controlling the middle: When Crew SC has been successful in 2017, the team has dominated the center of the park. Against the talented backbone of TFC, this will be important. Whoever lines up in the middle of the park will need to be ready to shutdown both Bradley and Giovinco. If those two get going, it could be a long night for Columbus.
How to Watch
Date/Time: Saturday May 10, 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Watch: MyTV Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2 (Channel Guide)
Stream: MLS Live
Listen: CD102.5 FM (English) La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)