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Massive Predictions: Toronto FC at Crew SC

How will Crew SC fair against their rivals from the north?

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

For the second time in 2018, Columbus Crew SC and Toronto FC will meet. The Black & Gold opened the season at BMO Field, spoiling TFC’s championship celebrations with a 2-0 victory. That Toronto team was apparently more focused on the CONCACAF Champions League, a tournament in which the Reds made the finals, but results haven’t gone much better for TFC of late. This time, the match is at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday.

While Crew SC sits in second place in the Eastern Conference, and tied for second in the Supporter’s Shield standings, you have to scroll all the way down to ninth in the East to find Toronto. The Reds currently have a 3-7-1 record and a long injury list that includes Jozy Altidore, Drew Moor, Chris Mavinga and Justin Morrow, to name a few.

Crew SC will not be at full strength in this one either as both midfielder and captain Wil Trapp and goalkeeper Zack Steffen are away on U.S. National Team duty. Winger Cristian Martinez is also suspended for a slap to a Sporting Kansas City player last week. On top of that, the team is waiting to hear back on an appeal of playmaker Federico Higuain’s red card. The Black & Gold might get back the services of center back Jonathan Mensah and winger Pedro Santos, who were both upgraded to questionable this week and were involved in some aspects of training.

While this isn’t currently the same group that won MLS Cup a year ago, knocking Columbus out in the Eastern Conference Final, it’s still a dangerous one that could get rolling at any point in 2018. Can that moment be Saturday or will the Black & Gold continue the team’s run of seven matches without a loss?

Let’s ask our Massive Report staff.

Collin Johnson

I hate to say it, but it’s really hard to see both streaks continuing this week. While Toronto still have yet to find their form after a haphazard start to the season, thanks to the CONCACAF Champions League, Crew SC will be without multiple key contributors. At least five, and potentially six, of the starters from the first match against Toronto will be out of the lineup.

While Columbus has some of the best depth in the league, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace six starters and maintain any sort of quality or continuity. The only hope is that Toronto’s missing pieces are equally damaging.
Toronto FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 0

Patrick Murphy

I feel like I’ve said this a lot lately, but this is another tricky game for Crew SC. Not only will the team be without two certain starters (Wil Trapp and Zack Steffen) and one on-and-off starter (Cristian Martinez) but Federico Higuain could also miss out if his red card from last week is not overturned. Although Jonathan Mensah and Pedro Santos are healing, they also may not be ready for this week.

The good news is Toronto is not at full strength either, having to play midfielder Michael Bradley at center back recently. It’s been a struggle for the defending champs, but everyone seems to think that will end at some point. I worry that it will be on Saturday against a depleted Columbus side.

Crew SC’s depth will be tested and I’m going to be cautiously optimistic about this one, but I don’t feel great about my pick.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 1

Guilherme Torres

A quick look at the standings and at the recent results for both teams, which would show Crew SC undefeated in seven matches and Toronto FC losing three of its last four, might indicate an easy Black & Gold victory this weekend, but several other factors can impact the game and make it a lot harder for Crew SC than many would expect.

Columbus might not have as many as six regular starters due to injury, suspension and national team duty. In midfield, for example, Artur might be the only familiar face. The Black & Gold have shown good depth this season and, for most of time, the players who had their numbers called answered properly, but with so many changes I’d expect Columbus to pull out a result, but not as easily as many think.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 1

Ralph Schudel

It’s tough to get a beat on Toronto. This team is regarded as one of the deepest teams in Major League Soccer, but seem to have a bit of a CONCACAF Champions League hangover. TFC sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference averaging 0.91 points per game. Head coach Greg Vanney seems to be struggling to find a lineup that works. He even lines up Michael Bradley at center back from time to time. It isn’t pretty. Crew SC’s depth will receive another test as Zack Steffen and Wil Trapp will miss the match, as will Federico Higuain and Cristian Martinez due to suspensions.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 1

Patrick Guldan

Toronto hasn’t been good this season. Injuries and Champions League have taken their toll on a deep and strong squad. However they are coming to MAPFRE Stadium at the right time. Crew SC may be in even worse shape right now. Starters Wil Trapp and Zack Steffen have been integral to the team’s shutout streak, but are now with the U.S. National Team. Pedro Santos and Jonathan Mensah are recovering from their thigh injuries, but are in a race for to play. Four regular starters and a key rotational player is probably too big to overcome.
Toronto FC 1 Columbus Crew SC 0

Eliot McKinley

Columbus’ depth will be tested again as, due to injuries, suspensions and international duty, Crew SC will be missing up to six normal starters. Toronto is still recovering from an injury bug and has been in a rough run of form, including an inability to convert scoring chances into goals. As always, Sebastian Giovinco remains a threat, and Columbus’ league-leading defense (have I mentioned that the defense is actually really good?) needs to not give away fouls around the box for him to score from.

Toronto is not quite in a must-win situation to keep their playoff hopes alive, but they are close and will be motivated to get a result on the road. For some reason I have a bad feeling about this game, and I foresee Crew SC’s shoutout and unbeaten streak coming to an end this weekend.
Toronto FC 2 Columbus Crew SC 1

Those are our picks, now it’s your turn. How do you see Saturday’s match playing out? Let us know in the comment section below.