Toronto was without Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore, but it didn’t matter as the home side grabbed an early goal and then countered effectively to put the game well out of reach as they defeated the visiting Columbus Crew SC 5-0.
Gregg Berhalter put out an experimental lineup with Justin Meram and Federico Higuain playing centrally and Wil Trapp as the only holding midfielder. Kekuta Manneh and Niko Hansen flanked Ola Kamara. It was a balance heavily tilted towards the offense.
The damage was done early as Toronto capitalized on a defensive third turnover. Victor Vasquez picked up the ball and slipped it through the stretched Crew SC defense to Tosaint Ricketts. He proceeded to speed past Jonathan Mensah who pulled him down in the box to earn the penalty and Jonathan a yellow card. Vasquez slotted the PK home to give Toronto a 1-0 lead in the 6th minute.
Crew SC kept the possession, holding the ball over 60% of the time throughout the first half, but the problems of the team formation remained. Toronto struck again off another bad turnover. Marco Delgado switched the ball to a wide open Justin Morrow who ripped a shot from an angle to make it 2-0 in the 38th minute.
Berhalter had already submitted the card to substitute Meram for Artur as the goal played out. The substitution happened at the Crew SC kickoff.
Crew SC steadied with the addition of Artur, but they would slip again in the second half as Vasquez would strike again. After Mensah gave up a foul at the top of the 18, the Spaniard zipped in a beautiful free kick under the wall to make it 3-0 in the 58th minute.
The game would settle as the score line widened. Crew SC pushed for a consolation goal and Toronto would rebuff. Marky Delgado would get sent off as he clashed with Trapp in the 81st minute.
Even down to 10 men, Toronto struck as Crew SC’s effort flagged as the game came to a close. Jonathan Osorio would split the defense to slot a low ball past Steffen and Jordan Hamilton added a fifth deep into stoppage time as the capitulation was complete
Crew SC had zero shots on target.
When it was over:
You could say the team sheet, but it was clear that Toronto was a class above after Ricketts repeatedly beat the wide open Crew SC backline. It was clear that the Reds were well prepared to punish Columbus.
It’s a quick turnaround at Crew SC get a home game against Seattle on Wednesday 5/31 at 7:30 pm. The Sounders are currently struggling present a chance to right a season starting to go sideways.