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Massive Predictions: Columbus Crew SC at Toronto FC

Yes, the Black & Gold and the Reds meet again.

MLS: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

We promise, this is the last time in 2017 you have to read our predictions for a Columbus Crew SC and Toronto FC match... unless the two teams meet in the postseason.

This is the third and final meeting between the Trillium Cup rivals and the trophy is very much still on the line.

Crew SC won the first meeting between these two sides 2-1 back on April 15 at MAPFRE Stadium. TFC got the better end of things, also in a 2-1 affair at MAPFRE, on May 10 with two late goals.

Now the scene shifts to Canada, where Columbus looks for its third road win of the season while Toronto hopes to avoid a second loss of the year, both of which would have come to the Black & Gold.

The Reds come into this one without the services of their two usual frontmen, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco. The U.S. international misses the game due to yellow card accumulation while the diminutive Italian is out for multiple weeks with a quad strain.

This should be good new for Crew SC, but the last time Columbus faced a side missing two Designated Players — New York City FC without David Villa or Andrea Pirlo — it was a 3-2 loss at home.

So what do we think of this one? I turn it over to our staff for some wise words and predictions.

Kris Landis

This is a tough one to call, due mainly to Crew SCs maddeningly inconsistent performances lately. You'd think they have a good chance to beat TFC since the Reds will be without Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore, but a Gio-less TFC just came back to beat the Crew at MAPFRE. I have a feeling this will be a scrappy sort of match, and against a weakened TFC that may work in Crew SC’s favor. I think it'll be tight, but I see the Black & Gold stealing a win at BMO Field.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 1

Sam Fahmi

Can Columbus Crew SC take advantage of Sebastian Giovinco being out again? Can Crew SC remember how to play defense and not let shades of 2016 show up again? Thirteen games in and we still have questions. Toronto is one of the best teams in the league. Crew SC have proven that they can beat them before. Was it luck? Possibly. Can a winning result be repeated? I hope so. Crew SC will allow some goals, but we could see a repeat of the Montreal game.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Toronto FC 2

Guilherme Torres

Columbus Crew SC has been nothing but inconsistent lately. The same cannot be said about Toronto FC, who won six out of its last seven MLS games and tied the other. With all that said and considering the match will be disputed at the BMO Field, it's hard not to consider the Canadians the favorites for this match.

It happens, though, that Toronto will be considerably shorthanded on this match, without the injured Sebastian Giovinco and Nick Hagglund and the suspended Jozy Altidore. That kind of evens things, but it is still an unpredictable game. If Crew SC avoids the defensive mistakes it made on the last games, the Black & Gold have a shot at getting another road win (and the Trillium Cup). I'll go with a tie though.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Toronto FC 1

Ralph Schudel

Frankly, I've been racking my brain all week about this match. Toronto's form has been dynamite as of late, but they have fallen on a bit of a rough patch. They drew to the New York Red Bulls last weekend and got stung in the first leg of the Canadian Championship as they lost to USL side Ottawa Fury. TFC won't have Jozy Altidore (yellow card accumulation) or Sebastian Giovinco (quad strain) so I really don't know what to expect.

Man, isn't parity fun?

Realistically, Toronto have players that can fill those spots admirably. Tosaint Ricketts was the star of the second leg at MAPFRE, Victor Vazquez is dynamic on the ball, and they get Drew Moor back after his irregular heartbeat scare. Plus, the fans have been rocking BMO hard since the renovation.

I just don't feel confident in which Columbus side we will see Friday night. Is it going to be the team that dictated the play in the first meeting against TFC or will we see the side that looked less than impressive against NYCFC? I can't say with confidence I believe in this team on the road. They need to come away with a point; I just don't see it happening.

Toronto takes the Trillium Cup.
Toronto FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Collin Johnson

Crew SC have a chance to get some revenge after the late-match collapse, and hopefully recover from an early-match letdown from last week. Like years past, Columbus has been unable to adjust when a team shifts tactics during a match. Toronto shifted its formation during the come-back at MAPFRE and the New England Revolution shifted its formation after going behind last week. Crew SC must show the ability to adapt when a team switches tactics (stop me if you've heard this before).

Artur, hopefully healthy, should be a huge addition back to the Black & Gold midfield. Nonetheless, Crew SC will have its hands full in Toronto with the likes of Michael Bradley and Tosaint Ricketts, but Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco are out. If Columbus can escape Toronto with a point, that would mark the end of a successful three-match road trip.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Toronto FC 1

Josh Enke

Crew SC is frustrating. The team either wins or loses. Unlike opponents Toronto FC, draws don't seem to be a final result for the Black & Gold. The one time Columbus did split the points, it was the first game of the season. Since then, fans and critics alike can confidently expect three points, or, nothing at all from this team. Although Berhalter likes to focus on performance, results still matter. Results get a team to the playoffs.

Toronto is home, and perhaps the best performing club in the league. It could be said, so far, this match is the biggest challenge for Columbus in 2017. This is also the final match of the Trillium Cup (whatever that means). Can this league leading TFC side be humbled?

Following the lose-win-lose-win-lose form of Crew SC, it follows that a win is next in sequence. That's about as confident as I've become with predicting a Crew result. This team is difficult.

I think the defense is due for some tinkering. Foremost, I think Alex Crognale has a fair case to be back in the starting 11.

MLS parity will prevail.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Toronto FC 1

Patrick Guldan

Crew SC on the road facing the hottest team in MLS? This is a recipe for a loss. There would be little shame in losing to the best team in the league currently. If there is a ray of hope, it’s that Columbus played TFC tough over the first two meetings. Additional good news is that the key to the system looks ready to return, as Artur is back at full speed. Will it be enough for a win? Toronto at home is probably too good for that, but the Black & Gold are in a good position to grab a point and a tie.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 2

Josh Mlot

Toronto has beat Columbus twice without Sebastian Giovinco in the last year, so that's not really a factor in this one. These teams are very familiar with each other, so I expect it might be a little cagey and I'm guessing we won't see a goal fest. Last time, Crew SC did a lot of positive things, but two mistakes cost the club, and an inability to capitalize on opportunities when it had them. The Black & Gold will also have to find a way to prevent Raheem Edwards from providing service from the elder, where he's been a real spark and hurt Columbus last time. And I think the presence/absence of Artur is key to helping CCSC get back in track. But really, I think this one comes down to the simple fact that Toronto is a really good team playing on its home field.
Toronto FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Patrick Murphy

I don’t like this game for Crew SC. I think Toronto is the best team in MLS right now and Columbus is a notch below. Though I think the Black & Gold should have won both of the previous regular season meetings this year, I think it will be a different task at BMO Field.

Yes, TFC will be without three key players in Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Nick Hagglund, but I believe Greg Vanney when he says they are the deepest team in the league. They’ve found ways to get results in every match but one and I see Crew SC being a bit too relaxed in this one without those key players for the opponent.
Toronto FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

So there’s our, relatively, positive predictions. Agree? Disagree? Let us hear it and give us your score prediction in the comments below.