Teams: Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC

Kick-off: 05:00 AM, MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

Where to Watch: Catch the action live on DSport, this Thursday

Last Game Played: Apr 16, 2017 ; CLB 2 – 1 TOR

Season Goal leaders:  Columbus Crew SC – Ola Kamara (6 goals), Toronto FC – Jozy Altidore (6 goals)

Columbus Crew will host Eastern Conference table topper Toronto FC in their home ground MAPFRE Stadium, on Thursday. The match kicks off at 05:00am and will be televised live on DSport.

Toronto FC have won four straight after a 1-1-4 start. While, Crew SC’s fortunes have been more down than up of late: They won four of their first seven matches and are 1-2-0 since then.

If there’s an immediate edge to be seen in this one, it goes to Toronto’s team defense. The Reds are one of three teams conceding less than a goal a match on average (eight in 10 outings), while Crew SC have surrendered 13 goals in their 10 matches this season.

Thursday’s match also offers TFC a chance to climb back into the Trillium Cup competition with their Ohio rivals – or for Crew SC to clinch it with a victory, after taking the first meeting between the two sides by a 2-1 margin in April.

Columbus Crew’s forward Ola Kamara has six goals already, winger Justin Meram has four goals and four assists, and playmaker Federico Higuain is back in DP form with three goals and four assists.

The Eastern Conference-leaders also have star performers. Forward Jozy Altidore’s converted penalty in last weekend’s 1-0 away victory over Seattle gave him six goals on the season, and Sebastian Giovinco has overcome a slow start to ring up five goals.

Columbus Crew SC has had the upper hand over Toronto in recent meetings and is 2-1-2 in the last five matches overall. The most recent meeting was a couple of weeks ago, a match Columbus Crew SC won, 2-1.

Columbus Crew SC

Suspended: None

Int’l Duty: None

Injuries: OUT – D Gaston Sauro (left PCL surgery, out for season), M Ben Swanson (right ankle surgery, out for season), D Connor Maloney (concussion), M Artur (left wrist surgery); QUESTIONABLE: GK Brad Stuver (right elbow strain), D Alex Crognale (ankle sprain)

Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Zack Steffen – Hector Jimenez, Josh Williams, Jonathan Mensah, Jukka Raitala – Wil Trapp, Nicolai Naess – Ethan Finlay, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram – Ola Kamara

Notes: Crew SC have won six of their last eight home games (1L-1D) dating back to last season, averaging 2.1 goals per game over that time. They have scored in each of their last 16 games at MAPFRE Stadium. … Since the start of last September, Ola Kamara has scored 12 goals in 17 regular season appearances for Crew SC. Only New York City’s David Villa (13) has more over that time.

Toronto FC

Suspended: None

Int’l Duty: None

Injuries: OUT – D Drew Moor (cardiac arrythmia); D Ashtone Morgan (stress fracture in foot)

Projected Starting XI (3-5-2): Clint Irwin – Eriq Zavaleta, Nick Hagglund, Justin Morrow – Steven Beitashour, Marky Delgado, Michael Bradley, Victor Vazquez, Raheem Edwards – Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco

Notes: Toronto have lost just one of their last 10 away matches in the regular season (5W-4D), which includes their 1-0 win at Seattle last weekend. Over their last six road games, Toronto have alternated between conceding two goals and keeping a clean sheet. … Jozy Altidore has nine combined goals and assists in 10 games this season – only New York City FC’s David Villa (10) has more. Jozy’s six goals since March 10 are the second-most in MLS, trailing just Philadelphia’s C.J. Sapong.

All-Time Series

Including the two teams’ meeting on April 15, Crew SC have only dropped one of the last five matches against Toronto (2W, 2D). Over the last five games both clubs have scored five goals and been held scoreless twice.

Overall: Columbus 13 wins (44 goals) … Toronto 6 wins (35 goals) … Ties 10

At Columbus: Columbus 9 wins (30 goals) … Toronto 3 wins (21 goals) … Ties 4

Source:  MLS

 

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