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Massive Predictions: Columbus Crew SC at Toronto FC

The 2018 season is about to kickoff for the Black & Gold!

MLS: Eastern Conference Championship-Columbus Crew at Toronto FC John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

We’re back! Columbus Crew SC kickoff the 2018 season on Saturday afternoon against defending MLS Cup Champions Toronto FC.

If you weren’t paying attention last postseason, these two teams had a furious two-leg battle in the Eastern Conference Finals which came down to a Jozy Altidore finish and missed chances by Crew SC. Had things gone slightly different, it would have been the Black & Gold hosting MLS Cup, not TFC.

But that’s in the past and we’ve moved on to 2018.

Crew SC is a new-look team after the departures of Ola Kamara and Justin Meram and the addition of Gyasi Zardes and Milton Valenzuela — to name a few. Toronto also has some new faces in Gregory van der Wiel and Auro, as a couple of examples.

Along with a new season means another year of predictions. We already gave you our thoughts for the year, but now it’s time to get specific. Let’s see what the Massive Report staff thinks of this first game of 2018.

Josh Mlot

I’ll be honest, I haven’t paid a ton of attention to the preseason. But I also don’t think a whole lot translates once the whistle blows for real. Toronto was just such a well-oiled machine last year, and it has continued to look the part in CONCACAF Champion’s League action, albeit against a Colorado Rapids side that may not be worth talking about much this year. To me, TFC walks into this one knowing a lot more about itself, while Columbus still is figuring some things out. The X-factor is the championship banner raising. These things always can go one of two ways: either a team is flying because of the emotion, or a team is distracted. Plus, early in the season all sorts of weird, ugly things can happen.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 2

Patrick Murphy

What a way to start the season for Crew SC. As Gregg Berhalter said a number of times this week, this team will know a lot about itself at 3:00 on Saturday afternoon. While I don’t think people should read into one game too much, I do think this is a good benchmark for the Black & Gold early on.

As for how the game will play out, it’s tough for me to pick the visiting side in this one. Toronto was a very good team a year ago and appears to have gotten better this offseason. While I do like this Columbus side, see our preseason predictions, I think this team will grow into what it can be throughout the season as players get used to each other and get healthy. The one potential saving grace for Crew SC is TFC played in a Champions League game on Tuesday and play another one on Wednesday.
Toronto FC 2 Columbus 1

Guilherme Torres

Crew SC will have a season opener as tough as it could get facing the defending champions on the road. The Black & Gold gave Toronto a hard time on last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, but it’s hard to imagine the team will be able to put up as much fight considering the changes the roster has gone through.

I expect Toronto to get the win here, but not easily. The Black & Gold showed they can score but that should be harder against a well-structured TFC defense.
Toronto FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 0

Collin Johnson

Yet again, Crew SC open the season at the team that knocked them out of the playoffs. Toronto will look relatively similar while Columbus will be without Justin Meram for the first time since 2010. The Black & Gold have had an excellent preseason, but so has Toronto, so it will be an early season test against MLS’s best team. Early season games are always sloppy and this one will be no different. Crew SC’s improved defense will pay dividends, and newcomer Gyasi Zardes will score his first goal for Columbus, but the teams play to a messy draw.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 2

Patrick Guldan

There isn’t a harder game in MLS right now than at Toronto. The defending champs reloaded in the offseason and are coming off of two Champions League games to put them in in-season form. While the Reds are ready to push for a repeat, the Black & Gold are still tweaking the roster for the 2018 season. While Gyasi Zardes has stepped in well, the team is still short a replacement on the wing. Columbus will show better than their last regular season trip to BMO Field, but won’t come out with a result.
Toronto FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 0

Ralph Schudel

Here we go. The start of the 2018 MLS season. There is a ton of intrigue wrapped up in this season, but there is soccer to be played.

Crew SC and Toronto FC renew their rivalry to kickoff 2018, and the scary part is both clubs got better. Each adding key pieces to their framework as they build for a deep playoff run. Of course, Toronto has big stars like Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley. But where Greg Vanney and his staff shine are in their role players. The role players are just as dangerous as the stars and Columbus must be aware of that.

There couldn’t be an earlier chance for Crew SC to get revenge on TFC, but like 2016 I can’t see them winning at a raucous BMO Field.
Toronto FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Sam Fahmi

Lest we forget, Crew SC lost to Toronto FC in last year’s Eastern Conference Championship by a combined 1-0 score. Having said that, TFC did add some major signings to an already strong squad, and the Crew added some pieces, but how they new patches compare to the departed positions is yet to be determined.
Toronto FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Now it’s your turn. We have a comment section . Let us know your thoughts on this opening game!