The 2019 Major League Soccer season comes to a close on Sunday as Columbus Crew SC hit the road to face Toronto FC. The results of the season are fixed regardless of the outcome as Toronto has booked its MLS Cup playoff spot and the Crew, sadly, will be forced to watch from home.
Coming off of a well-deserved 2-0 victory against Philadelphia Union last Sunday, the Black & Gold surprisingly come into their final fixture with momentum. Their last matchup with TFC on Aug. 17 produced a 2-2 draw at MAPFRE Stadium.
Let’s see how our staff is feeling going into the Crew’s final matchup of the season.
Despite not making the playoffs, Columbus Crew SC can still win the Trillium Cup and yearly bragging rights because a 2-2 result at MAPFRE Stadium against rivals Toronto FC back in mid-August sets up a winner-take-all dynamic this weekend. And this is, yet again, a golden opportunity for Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes to prove they are superior to the overhyped and overrated pairing of Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore in the defensive midfield and forward positions for the U.S. Men’s National Team moving forward. For this game, the Crew may strike first, but the home team will get a good swing in too within 90 minutes.
Columbus Crew SC 1 Toronto FC 1
The season has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. The highest of highs at the start as the Save The Crew movement celebrated their success and the Crew rattled off several early wins. It then ran straight into one of the largest lulls in club history, losing 13 out of 15 matches over several months. But then reinforcements arrived and some positive results returned. But it all ended up being too late, as some stagnant draws all but eliminated any last playoff hopes. But the team’s dominance of the Philadelphia Union last weekend showed that the Crew wasn’t done with this season despite being eliminated from the playoffs.
The same will go for them this week. Toronto FC is trying to rap up a higher playoff seed, but Columbus wants some revenge for it previous Trillium Cup lapse. The Crew will leave the match with the win, but Toronto will leave with the playoff birth.
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This is a very interesting matchup for a couple of reasons. Aside from the fact that nothing Columbus says or does will result in a playoff berth, the team can be the ones to make the road a little bit more difficult for Toronto. A win for the Black & Gold coinciding with a New England Revolution win will see the Revs hosting the knockout match at Gillette Stadium and Toronto falling to seventh place.
Columbus can certainly play with a chip on its shoulder in a proves-nothing match. The Black & Gold will try and prove that they deserved much more than what 2019 produced. I happen to agree with Caleb Porter that the team has been in far too many instances where more points were deserved. You can only look forward and not sulk in the past. To summarize, the Crew will end 2019 on a high note, leaving fans very excited for 2020.
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It’s the last game of the 2019 season. The Crew can’t hold anything back. It’s fitting that the team has peaked right at the end of the season with the playoffs out of reach. Still, the Crew can build onto a stronger second half or the year. Toronto has clinched a playoff spot but has the chance to move up in the standings or fall to the seventh slot, so there will be no taking it easy from the Reds. Gyasi Zardes will surely look to pad his goal stats while others will be looking to play their way into the fray for next season.
Columbus Crew 3 Toronto FC 2
The only fun thing about not making the MLS Cup playoffs this year is the Crew gets the chance to play spoiler a bit to end the season. After being officially eliminated a week and a half ago, the Black & Gold dinged the Philadelphia Union a little bit last week with a 2-0 win at MAPFRE Stadium and has the chance to prevent rivals Toronto FC from hosting a playoff game on Sunday.
This seemed like a loose bunch throughout the week at practice with nothing on the line. Columbus goes to Toronto with the pressure off, but I still see a draw on the horizon.
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What result do you see coming from Sunday’s match? Will the Black & Gold finish the season on a winning streak or leave more questions? Let us know in the comment section below.