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Massive Predictions: Crew vs Toronto FC

How will it go in the first game of the Trillium Cup?

MLS: Columbus Crew at Toronto FC Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

From one rivalry to another, Columbus Crew SC takes on Toronto FC on Saturday evening.

Although the first game of the Trillium Cup won’t have the same level of emotion as last Saturday’s contest against FC Cincinnati, the Crew still face an Eastern Conference foe with a lot on the line Saturday.

Both teams are on the outside of the playoff picture, looking to climb back in. Toronto sits on 33 points, tied for the seventh spot in the East but are in ninth place due to tiebreakers. The Black & Gold, meanwhile, are seven points out of the playoffs with eight games to play and have little to no time to let points slip away.

It should be another exciting one at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday night. Who comes away with the win? Let’s see what our staff thinks.

Elmer Plasencia

Toronto is coming off a midweek match where the team clinched a fourth consecutive Canadian Championship final appearance. Despite this, the team has been up and down over the last 10 MLS matches with four wins, four losses and two ties. It seems that the Crew are building something off of recent success and could have players like Waylon Francis and Josh Williams back from injury. I think this version of the Trillium Cup is really anyone’s game with both teams less than stellar defensively and the Crew actually able to find the back of the net lately.
Columbus Crew 1 Toronto FC 1

Jay Homan

The Trillium Cup, MLS’s laziest attempt at a rivalry since the Pioneer Cup. Sure, the Crew and Toronto play twice a year, but rarely have the matches amounted to much hype (unless you are talking about the 2017 playoffs). This year won’t be much different from a fan perspective, but expect both teams to be motivated for a win as they try to make a late-season push for the playoffs.

Columbus will want some retribution for their short comings last week and TFC might be the perfect opposition for that. Toronto has been on a very slow downward trajectory since May and would has been below the playoff line much sooner if it wasn’t for some miraculous plays from a surprisingly healthy Jozy Altidore. But even if he is healthy, this will be the fifth match in two weeks for Toronto. Tired legs will surely start to show in the second half. Perfect timing for the Crew to continue its habit of second half goals. Expect Caleb Porter to dial in the team this week in preparation for their return trip to Hell next Sunday.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 1

Nick Hudak

The rivalry games aren’t stopping for the Crew with yet another challenge on its hands in Toronto FC. Seven points ahead and tied for the seventh and final playoff spot, it’s do or die time at this point of the season for Caleb Porter and the Black & Gold.

Last week’s comeback was nothing short of impressive, but Columbus comes into this game with a sense of urgency as the team let two crucial points slip through its fingers against FC Cincinnati. With only eight games remaining in the season and time to play catch up on the rest of the conference is running out, Porter and company will certainly be on the hunt for three points. At home in front of a fiery MAPFRE Stadium crowd, Columbus should have no problem returning to winning ways.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 1

Tyler Fisher

It’s not Hell Is Real, but thiss is another rivalry match for the Crew. Toronto FC come to town to face off against the Black & Gold and I must say, Columbus actually has the upper hand in my opinion. Toronto is coming into this match after having a midweek match, clinching a place in the finals for the Canadian Championship. Columbus is well rested and looking forward to giving the fans a well-deserved win in the Trillium Cup series.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 0

Mike Crosky

Oh yes, the prestigious Trillium Cup. The rivalry of all rivalries for Columbus Crew fans. Ok, so not really, but if the Crew is going to have any chance of making the playoffs, every game the rest of the season becomes a “must win” for the Black & Gold. Toronto has had an up and down season to say the least. On paper, this match could go either way. TFC has given up 41 goals this year and are 3-6-2 away from BMO Field. The Crew, of course, is on a five-game unbeaten streak. While Columbus may have felt a similar sting of a loss after its draw with FC Cincinnati, the club has momentum and is playing well enough to squeak out points, especially at MAPFRE Stadium. Both teams will be battling for their playoff lives, but I have this one concluding in a draw.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 2

Patrick Murphy

Dropping two points against FC Cincinnati last week, in what many considered a very winnable game, probably put the nail in the coffin for the Crew’s playoff hopes in 2019. But until the team is mathematically eliminated from the postseason, the Black & Gold will continue to fight. And to keep hopes alive, a win is needed this weekend at home against Toronto FC.

Toronto has been a busy team of late and come into Saturday’s match after a midweek game. While Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley are names U.S. Soccer fans don’t like to hear about on the international stage, they are two players who are still dangerous in MLS. TFC also added Alejandro Pozuelo, who leads the team with nine goals and nine assists.

I think the Crew can pull out a win against Toronto but it won’t be easy, especially with the home side still dangerously thin at left back. Might this be the Columbus debut of Jordan Hamilton against his old side?
Columbus Crew SC 3 Toronto FC 2

Collin Johnson

The Crew team that showed up in the second portion of the first half, and for the rest of the match, again FC Cincinnati is the team that can run off a string of wins and get everyone’s hopes up as the season winds down. The Crew team that gave up two goals to the worst team in the league within 10 minutes will get run off its home field by Toronto FC on Saturday. Which team will show up is the big question. Columbus has found a bit of consistency during the five-match unbeaten streak but whatever happened against Cincinnati was not the marker of a good team. Still, the club’s played some of its best soccer of the year and can keep the streak going at home.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 1

Jimmy Lentz

While Toronto FC (33 points) is tied points-wise for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, a tiebreaker has the Canadian squad hovering below that playoff line with Columbus Crew SC (26 points). This game has big implications for both teams wanting to earn those valuable three points to either gain separation or climb the ladder for the playoffs.

Even more than Toronto, the Crew needs a win, particularly in the club’s third-to-last home game this regular season. Keep an eye out for how many touches Gyasi Zardes gets – in scoring positions and with passes on the ground for possession and distribution – as he will be needed for scoring goals as well as acting as a playmaking catalyst for an offense progressing in recent weeks with an in-form Pedro Santos. Having said this, unresolved problems still remain for the Crew’s defense concerning fundamental marking, positioning, and communication.
Columbus Crew SC 2 Toronto FC 2

How do you see the Trillium Cup game playing out? Let us know in the comment section below.