By Brad Friedman
Saturday night’s match at MAPFRE Stadium was a shootout, and both Columbus Crew SC and Toronto FC came out with guns blazing.
The two sides combined for six goals, the most in any Crew SC match this season. It was Jozy Altidore’s 89th-minute penalty kick that completed Toronto FC’s second-half comeback and ended the match in a 3-3 draw.
Here, we break the Eastern Conference clash down by the numbers.
Six different players scored on Saturday night and four of them were the usual suspects. Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay make up the most threatening offensive duo in MLS. Both scored and now combine for 22 goals and 17 assists. Tony Tchani also scored for the Black & Gold. Toronto's dynamic duo of Sebastian Giovinco and the aforementioned Altidore also scored one each. In between both of them, Collen Warner found the back of the net, as well. Goals 3 to 5 were scored with 10 minutes after the break. That’s enough to make your head spin. Six goals is astonishing considering neither club registered more than 14 shots and each put no more than seven shots on frame.
With Giovinco and Kamara both scoring, the League’s leading goal scorers have now combined for a whopping 28 goals (15 for Kamara, 13 for Giovinco). In addition, Finlay remains atop MLS in assists with 12 after providing a helper on Tchani’s goal.
Saturday’s match was extremely physical, and it showed with 31 called fouls. Both sides were getting chippy and the match had all of the makings of a rivalry meeting. Officials also handed out five yellow cards, two to Crew SC players (Kamara and Waylon Francis), and three to Toronto FC (Damien Perquis, Warner and Giovinco.)
Saturday night marked Wil Trapp’s 50th start with Crew SC. Though he only returned from injury five matches ago, Trapp went the full 90 for the third consecutive match.
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.
Crew SC Midfielder Ethan Finlay teamed up with the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library to read books and talk to kids about the importance of reading on Wednesday.
Ethan visited the library prior to the launch of Crew SC's 2015 Get a Kick Out of Reading program that runs during the month of August.
The event was held as part of Crew SC’s Give Forward Initiative, which is sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance.
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.