MLS Regular Season
By Brad Friedman
Did you know Columbus Crew SC’s rivalry with Toronto FC is named after a flower?
Well, you do now. The Trillium Cup, which is currently in its eighth year of existence, received its name because of the trillium flower’s significance to both teams’ regions. The three-pedaled plant is Ohio’s official wildflower and Ontario’s official flower.
Botany aside, the 20 matches since the series began, on top of the three pre-Trillium Cup meetings, have produced some wild matches and plenty of fond memories. Here, we’ll recall five of our favorites.
July 22, 2007: Schelotto’s Brace
The match remained a 0-0 draw through its opening 50 minutes, then Guiellermo Barros Schelotto made quick work. Ned Grabavoy and Frankie Hejduk combined to set up Schelotto in the 50th minute to break the tie. Six minutes later, Schelloto bent a beautiful free kick attempt over the Toronto FC wall and into the back of the net. Crew SC went on to beat Toronto again in September, finishing 2-0-1 against TFC during its first year in existence.
Week 20's MLS Power Rankings have been released and Crew SC is gaining ground. With back-to-back wins over Chicago and only five points separating second-place Columbus from D.C. United in the Eastern Conference, it's not surprising the Black & Gold have started climbing.
MLSsoccer.com says Wil Trapp's return could be causing an uptick in Crew SC's performance as of late. The Black & Gold are ranked ninth this week, climbing four spots from last week.
SI.com places Columbus a notch above MLSsoccer.com's list in eighth-- two spots higher than last week. The article states Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay are the deadliest combination in the League.
BleacherReport.com puts the Black & Gold a tad lower than the other two, in 10th, but has bumped them up a couple rungs from the previous week's position at 12. It credits Kamara and Finlay for their excellence, yet again.
Crew SC took the reins and dictated play right from the onset off the Black & Gold's match in Bridgeview, Illinois.
Smart ball movement, creative attacking, and a bend-but-don’t-break defense led Columbus to its first road win of the season, defeating the Fire 1-0.
Crew SC experienced two substantial turnarounds this week: playing another road match just four days after taking on the Impact north of the border, and a turnaround in the box score. Here, we’ll take a closer look at those numbers to see how they affected the outcome.
First, a tip of our hat goes out to Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson. He made six saves, some of them exceptional, including his tip over the crossbar on Ethan Finlay's breakaway, and kept Chicago in the match until the final whistle. Johnson’s 6’3’’, 217-pound frame came in handy when he needed to lunge after Crew SC’s seven on-target attempts.
2 out of 8
Crew SC was able to limit Chicago’s opportunities throughout the night, especially during the first half. Only two of the Fire's eight shots made their way to Steve Clark, though Jason Johnson’s 81st-minute bender from outside of the box snaked its way through traffic and had a decent chance of finding the back of the net. Luckily for Crew SC, Clark was there when he needed to be, and the backline took care of the rest.
11 & 13
Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay are one of the most dynamic duos in the MLS, so it’s only appropriate their respective stats be grouped together. When Finlay lobbed up a cross into the middle of the box from the right side during the 41st minute, Kamara charged in and struck a powerful header to give Crew SC the match’s only score. The goal was Kamara’s 13th of the season, and the assist was Finlay’s 11th. Both players lead the League in their respective categories.