To close out the 2019 season, Columbus Crew SC traveled North of the United States boarder to take on Toronto FC. The Reds came into this match looking to gain a home playoff game in the first round, whereas Columbus did not do enough to clinch a post-season berth for Sunday and it was the home side that earned the 1-0 win.
The first half was a mediocre performance from booth teams, to say the least. Each side played back and forth soccer, which generated little to no real good chances at all. Both teams had a good look on goal, but neither could convert.
TFC striker Jozy Altidore almost got the first goal of the game in the 34th minute when his right footed shot just missed the far post. Minutes later, Columbus goalkeeeper Eloy Room came up big for the Crew, making two huge saves on Altidore from the top of the penalty box and midfielder Michael Bradley on the rebound just before halftime to deny Toronto from scoring.
Columbus and Toronto went into the halftime break tied at 0-0.
The second half saw more action than the first from both teams.
Toronto eventually broke the ice in terms of scoring when Alejandro Pozuelo nailed a free kick into the back of the net in the 58th minute. Altidore earned the free kick just outside of the 18-yard box, which allowed Toronto to find the goal. There comes a mystery, however, whether or not the wall was set up properly, or if Room took one step to the opposite side and didn't have enough time to make a save.
Black & Gold winger Luis Diaz nearly brought the game back level in the 64th minute but TFC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg was able to tip the shot off of the crossbar and out for a Crew corner.
As time wound down, former Black & Gold striker Patrick Mullins almost scored twice in stoppage time, but it wouldn't matter as Toronto won 1-0, pushing the team into fourth place in the East. Columbus heads into the offseason now wanting to mend all the pieces together to have a more successful 2020 season.
Eloy Room comes in clutch
The Curaçao goalkeeper kept Columbus in the match, making key saves. Zack Steffen’s replacement has definitely left his mark, but one can make an argument that he hasn’t filled the shoes Steffen left when he departed for Manchester City. A full season with Room will give Black & Golld fans the reassurance they need that the team is in good hands.
Players leaving? Players staying?
This season saw many injuries. One significant injury was midfielder Federico Higuain. At 35 years-old, the Argentine maestro had ACL reconstruction, making him miss the rest of the season. With the season now over, many questions will come into play. Who will Columbus keep? Who will they let go?
Don’t worry, Crew fans. You will see each other again much sooner than you think. On Thursday, the groundbreaking for the new Downtown stadium will happen. Supporters can start showing up around 1 p.m. ET. Music and food trucks will be there to accommodate fans, with the ceremony beginning promptly at 2 p.m. ET.