Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Eastern Conference Final Leg 1 – The ReTrilliuming!

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew ~ Tues. Nov. 21st ~ 8pm ET ~ MAPFRE Stadium ~ TSN1/3/4/5

 Hey everyone, remember MLS?  No really it’s that league we’ve been following for years – you know, the one that we’ve been waiting ages (it really does feel like forever) for to finish the post-season. Sure there’s been the Atlanta United year end awards MSL awards for everyone to enjoy, as well as the parting of ways between Porter and Portland, but it’s not quite the same. Well wait no more, tonight the playoffs resume and once again you can start caring about soccer.

Toronto FC have made the trip to Columbus (along with up to 1000 fans) for tonight’s away leg against the team that Precourt wants to move.  Both teams are rested, knocks are healed and any momentum or rhythm they might have had is more or less dulled.   Yes the Crew have that whole ‘they’re going to move our team’ thing going for them (OK, that’s potentially a lot of motivation damn it), and apparently they’ve sold out this game so umm, good for the home team doing what it’s supposed to do.  Can’t wait for the ‘fuck Precourt’ chants.

Toronto are of course without their two top strikers as both are suspended for this match. Nervous?  I’d be lying if I said no – while I am a huge fan of Tosaint Ricketts and his abilities, you always want to go into games like this with your best players.  However if Toronto FC truly are the deepest team in history™ then they should be able to utilize Ricketts and Victor Vazquez and their attacking skills to see them through.  Right? RIGHT?  There are questions about the lineup and the formation – really the only question is who’s at the back (at least to me), here’s my projected XI:

                                                 

It’s possible that Zavaleta starts instead of Hagglund, and that Vazquez plays more tucked in behind Ricketts – but otherwise I think that’s what we’ll see from Vanney and co.

Game Thoughts:

  1.  Michael Bradley vs Justin Meram has been the talk of all the previews and it’s not a bad place to focus; with Vazquez playing further up, Bradley, Oso & Delgado will have more work to both creatively and defensively.
  2. Frederico Higuain – mark the hell out of this man.  Higuain is a player that make something out of nothing, he also loves to score against Toronto – give him no space.
  3. Zach Steffan – seriously where did this guy come from?  A more than solid keeper who’s had a penchant for making the big save time and again this season, keeping his team in games.
  4. Crew Cat – surely he’ll make an appearance, if only to rally the team.
  5. Ricketts – while Tos hasn’t played much this year, when he has he’s scored more than his fair share of goals – including the 5-0 drubbing Toronto handed to the Crew in May (when they were also without Seba & Jozy).
  6. Oso – The yellow team would be remiss in not paying close attention to him, he’s been excellent for TFC the past few months and has been a positive addition to games.
  7. If the Crew win they’re only one win away from reclaiming the Trillium Cup (it’s a best of five this year).

This series should be markedly different than the one that Toronto played against the energy drinks; expect a much more free flowing game, less foul-filled (we can hope) and more energetic games over the next week.  Both teams have things working in their favour, the weather for tonight’s game could be rainy but shouldn’t be too cold, there will be lots of fan support – it’s an interesting series and one that should be fun to watch.  As positive as I am about TFC I think home field advantage works in the Crew’s favour tonight – sticking with my podcast prediction of a. 2-1 Columbus win

Kristin Knowles

Author: Kristin Knowles

Raised on basketball and baseball, Kristin soon saw the error of her ways when enrolled in a local football league as a child. Geography dictated she choose TFC as her team and ten years later she’s still yet to flee the city. Cynically optimistic, she now channels her inner hooligan by singing random pop songs and making poor puns in the stands. May contain adult content. Find me on the internet machine @kzknowles

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2 Comments

  1. Yeah know, it is nice that Altidore and Giovinco have a rest tonight, it should keep them fresh for those final two games. In all honesty there is plenty of the defensive wall in the backfield and firepower up front for the Reds to get what needs to be done in C-bus. Now there is silly and silly has crept into TFC’s game here and there, but once again if C-bus is not here or there then we should be smiling when we slip into our beds tonight.

    Give Bradley a cold shower before the game, as he is sitting on a yellow and go with a four man backfield to start the game, please.

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    • Kristin Knowles

      Honestly I don’t think it’s good for them to be not playing for so long – over three weeks without games is tough, better for players to be getting into the rhythm of games. I’m just hopeful that they’ll be raring to go next week.

      Agreed about Bradley – he doesn’t always keep his head straight.

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