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Massive Predictions: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC

With tired legs (and minds) we try and predict Wednesday’s outcome.

MLS: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

If you felt like you were just reading one of these, you aren’t wrong. It’s a short week for Columbus Crew SC as Toronto FC comes to MAPFRE Stadium.

And no, you’re not having deja vu again. The Reds are coming back to Columbus for the second time in three and a half weeks. Enjoy it now Crew SC fans because you won’t see TFC back at MAPFRE until potentially the playoffs.

As for this game, it’s another big one for the Black & Gold. Toronto came to Columbus the first time in 2017 undefeated and left with a 2-1 defeat. The Reds weren’t happy with that loss and its the only one of the season for the Canadians.

Since that match, TFC has won four consecutive games including a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders on the road last week where head coach Greg Vanney was able to rest some players, including Designated Player Sebastian Giovinco.

Toronto sits atop the Eastern Conference, but Crew SC is only three points back. A win in this match would pull Columbus level with the Trillium Cup rivals.

The Black & Gold have the advantage in this one considering the team does not have to travel, but it’s likely both teams will need to do some squad rotation, which makes it difficult to call.

But that’s why we’re here. Let’s see what our staff thinks about about this midweek contest.

Josh Enke

MLS fans are getting a midweek treat. With both Columbus and Toronto operating at such a high level, this match should demonstrate what the league can offer in terms of quality.

Toronto's only conceded two goals in its last four games. Last week the team even managed an away shutout in a 2016 MLS Cup Final rematch against Seattle. TFC's only loss so far is to Columbus.

I'm looking forward to seeing a similar central midfield pairing of Wil Trapp and Nicolai Naess, with Naess holding and Trapp more transitional. The Homegrown player showed a skill set on Saturday many have been waiting for. If I had to think big, I'd say fans may have witnessed the demarcation of a new phase in Trapp's career. There's potential. We saw it.

While I think Wednesday will be an entertaining display from both sides, I say these two Eastern Conference foes will have to distribute the points evenly. Still, it should be a fun one to watch.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 2

Nick Clarkson

Columbus Crew SC welcomes Toronto FC to MAPFRE Stadium for the second leg of the Trillium Cup Saturday evening. Crew SC took the first of three games against the Reds 2-1 back on April 15 in Columbus behind goals from Ola Kamara and Justin Meram.

Since that loss, however, TFC has won its last four matches, and now sits in first place in the Eastern Conference. The Black & Gold find themselves just three points behind in fourth after last week's win over the Revs.

With a chance to win the Trillium Cup at home, and take three huge points in the table heading into a three-game road trip, I think Crew SC come out with an extra gear in their step. With that being said, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley have been in stellar form as of late — along with a rested Sebastian Giovinco, who did not play last week at Seattle.

Overall, I think the return of Seba will be a bright spot for TFC, but the fatigue from nearly cross-country travel from the Washington to Ohio on a short week will ultimately decide the game. Crew SC takes their second-straight victory to Montreal.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 1

Patrick Murphy

This is a tough one to call. I’m not sure what either side’s lineup will look like considering both teams played on Saturday and play again next weekend. TFC rested several players in the win over Seattle a few days ago, but both Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley played. Will they sit in this one?

For Crew SC, there was a bit of rotation in the 2-0 win over the Revolution on Saturday, specifically with the fullbacks, but I expect that to continue. The wingers, or at least one, may shift out and this could be a game without playmaker Federico Higuain.

This is a contest that should have been a good and exciting affair between two rivals, but the schedule will throw a wrench into that. I think this will be more of a sloppy game and one Columbus may have to grind out, especially if Higuain is not playing.

I still think Crew SC gets a result.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Toronto FC 1

Guilherme Torres

Toronto FC will be back at MAPFRE Stadium for the second time in less than a month and odds are the side will be a tougher rival than they were in April. The first reason is the fact that Sebastian Giovinco is arguably in better form now and he will be fresh as he was rested last weekend in Seattle. I also believe TFC is more solid defensively now as the last time it was the first game without center back Drew Moor.

Crew SC had ups and downs during the last weeks but is still a very solid team when playing at home. Ola Kamara and Federico Higuaín are in great shape, but it is likely that Pipa gets some rest against the Canadians, which would inevitably lead to a change on the team's playing system. Head coach Gregg Berhalter will not be on the bench, but his coaching staff is qualified and familiar with the roster enough to lead the team on his absence.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Toronto FC 1

Josh Mlot

This is a weird one. Both teams are playing a bunch of games in a short period, and it's unclear who will rotate in and out of the lineups, so it's hard to say. But I expect we'll see a fresh Sebastian Giovinco, at the very least. Beyond that? Who knows. (But Greg Vanney would tell you they have the deepest team in MLS history, so it shouldn't matter). In this league it's really important to take points at home, so I think Columbus is more likely to keep key players in the lineup Wednesday and then rotate a couple out Saturday on the road against a beatable Montreal team. Toronto, meanwhile, is not only busy but also coming back from a long trip to the West Coast over the weekend. So I'll count that against TFC, despite how well the club has been playing.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 1

Collin Johnson

Crew SC put together one of their best team-efforts of the season on Saturday, and have a quick turnaround against a team that had to travel all the way to Seattle the week before. Toronto is playing some of its best soccer of the season, having won four straight, but winning a road game after having traveled to Seattle and back with short rest against a team that has been at home for the third week in a row should be a recipe for success for Crew SC. While Sebastian Giovinco should be expected to play after resting against Seattle, Crew SC might have the services of young midfield cog Artur.

Crew SC get the win against a jet lagged Toronto FC, and Artur goes 60 minutes.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 1

Kris Landis

This is a tough one to call, with both sides playing on a short week. TFC, as much as it pains me to admit, are a very good team... when they show up. With Sebastian Giovinco not traveling to Seattle I have to assume he was being rested for this one, which is... not good. But Crew SC took down a Giovinco-led Toronot once already this season. The Black & Gold have been so inconsistent to start this year that each game I'm forced to wonder which Crew team is going to show up. Last weekend's match was exactly what the team (and its fans) needed for a vital confidence boost before a big rivalry game, and I think it will give the team a lift in this one.

I see both sides scoring again here, but I think Crew SC's clicking offense will be enough to get the win. Even if Gregg shuffles the attacking line up (which may or may not happen) I think the in-form Higuain will be the difference maker.
Columbus Crew SC 3 Toronto FC 2

Sam Fahmi

To be fair, Columbus Crew SC is usually not that great at midweek games. This game is balanced out by the fact that Toronto is flying back from Seattle to play in this one. This may be a game where we see Niko Hansen and Kakuta Manneh start on the wings. There will be some lineup shuffling, but Gregg Berhalter recognizes the importance of getting a minimum of a tie in this three-home-game finale. Toronto also rested some players against Seattle and came out with a 1-0 win. Crew SC is Toronto's only defeat in 2017 and they are probably looking to avenge that. All I can see out of this game is a tie though.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 2

Patrick Guldan

Both teams are going to be tired. TFC rested players, but they played in Toronto last Wednesday, in Seattle on Saturday, and back to Columbus for the game. So while Sebastian Giovinco may be fresh, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Marky Delgado traveled cross country. Crew SC has similar issues without the travel. So while Federico Higuain is unlikely to play, Justin Meram, Ola Kamara and the rest of the team didn’t have to climb on a plane and might be available. Both sides will be fatigued and the teams will be a little sluggish. That will make for tired and sloppy match that likely ends in a draw.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Toronto FC 1


What say you Crew SC fans? Do you believe the Black & Gold can use the quick turnaround to the team’s advantage and carry the momentum into this one or will the best in the East get revenge?