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Preview: Columbus Crew vs. Toronto – prediction, team news, lineups



Preview: Columbus Crew vs. Toronto – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Major League Soccer clash between Columbus Crew and Toronto, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two MLS sides, currently going in opposite directions, will face each other on Saturday at Field as the Columbus Crew host Toronto.

On Wednesday, the reigning MLS Cup champions won a third successive league fixture, 2-0 over Nashville SC, while the Reds lost 2-1 to Orlando City, their fifth straight defeat in this competition.

Match preview

© Reuters

The disappointment of losing the CONCACAF Champions Cup final (3-0 to Pachuca) appears to have served as a rallying cry for Columbus going forward.

Since that one-sided defeat, Wilfried Nancy‘s men have been sharp domestically, winning four of their previous five encounters.

Columbus have been particularly dominant over the past couple of weeks, winning their last three domestic contests by a combined score of 11-1.

Defensively, the Crew have been incredibly sharp at Field, winning their last two matches played there by a combined 6-0 margin while posting three clean sheets in their previous four MLS home games.

After 18 regular season contests this year, they have yet to drop a single point domestically in league play when leading at the half.

They are unbeaten in their last seven regular-season contests versus Canadian opponents and have not lost against their neighbours to the north since August 2022 (2-1 at home to CF Montreal).

Toronto midfielder Deybi Flores reacts during a June 2024 encounter© Reuters

A season that was going so well early on in 2024 has disintegrated for the Reds, who found another way to lose on Wednesday.

John Herdman was the toast of Toronto in the early portion of the campaign, with this team in a top-four position in the Eastern Conference over the first month and a half of the year.

Toronto will enter this contest on an eight-match MLS winless run, dropping them down to eighth in the East, only above the playoff line because they have more victories than Orlando City.

Earlier this week, the Reds failed to win for the fourth time domestically in 2024 when scoring the opening goal, resulting in 12 points dropped.

While things have not gone the way that Herdman and company had hoped over the past few weeks, seven of their 12 league defeats this year were by a single goal, perhaps an encouraging sign that things are not as bad as their recent results indicate.

TFC have yet to claim a single point at Field, losing both of their previous visits there, including a 2-0 defeat in 2023.

Columbus Crew Major League Soccer form:

Columbus Crew form (all competitions):

Toronto Major League Soccer form:

Team News

 Columbus Crew forward Christian Ramirez celebrates a goal on July 3, 2024© Reuters

Evan Bush remains sidelined for the Crew because of a wrist injury, and Jacen Russell-Rowe will miss another encounter as he remains on international duty with Canada at the Copa America.

Five Crew players were selected for the MLS All-Star game, including Steven Moreira, Rudy Camacho, Darlington Nagbe, Diego Rossi and Cucho Hernandez.

Rossi has scored in consecutive contests for them, with Christian Ramirez netting the other goal against Nashville this week, the fourth for the latter in the 2024 regular season.

Tyrese Spicer missed another game for Toronto this week due to a lower back issue, Alonso Coello continues to recover from a long-term thigh injury and Brandon Servania is out for the year with a ruptured ACL.

Deybi Flores will be suspended for this match following another yellow card in midweek, Kevin Long is eligible to return from his suspension, while Jonathan Osorio and Richie Laryea are with the Canadian national team.

Derrick Etienne scored five minutes into their match with Orlando City, but Sean Johnson conceded twice in his return from international duty, with Nicksoen Gomis netting an own-goal which held up as the winner.

Columbus Crew possible starting lineup:
Schulte; Moreira, Camacho, Amundsen; Farsi, Zawadzki, Nagbe, Yeboah; Ramirez, Rossi; Hernandez

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Johnson; Rosted, Long, Gomis; Bernardeschi, Thompson, Longstaff, Petretta; Etienne, Insigne; Owusu

SM words green background

We say: Columbus Crew 2-0 Toronto

Toronto have yet to clean up their defensive issues and will be up against a dynamic attacking unit in fantastic form and we believe they will be a handful for the Reds this weekend.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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