Preview: The need for points comes first in Trillium Cup finale
Having only surrendered the Trillium Cup to Toronto FC just once in the rivalry's history, it can be easy to think the trophy has lost its importance to the Crew. For the club's veterans, however, the Cup still has special meaning.
With both sides splitting the previous two matches this season, a winner will be decided when the Black & Gold welcome the Reds on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio) in the finale of the 2013 Trillium Cup presented by Scotts.
"It means a lot," veteran Chad Marshall said of the trophy. "We've definitely built up this rivalry, especially between the fans it seems like. It's always fun to have those important games and to have the opportunity to win something in the Trillium Cup. We'd like to keep that. We take pride in having that."
In eighth place in the MLS Eastern, the Crew is seven points out of playoff contention. The Black & Gold will need to string together several victories to get back into the postseason hunt.
While the club takes pride in retaining the Trillium Cup, earning points is the main focus on Saturday at this point in the season.
"In the way that both the team and the front office prepares itself ahead of this game, there is something special to it," Federico Higuaín said of the rivalry with Toronto FC. "I've picked up on that with some of the Trillium Cup stuff.
"However, I want to emphasize that it doesn't matter who the rival is, who is in front of us: right now, the necessity to win points comes first."
Added Marshall: "Obviously, where we are in the standings, we need to get three points at home. That's first and foremost."
Looking to win consecutive matches for the first time in 2013, the Crew will build off a 2-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls at Crew Stadium last week.
"We definitely had a good showing against New York," Marshall said. "It was a great crowd. We were really feeding off the crowd's energy. Pipa [Higuaín's] goals were amazing and we really put together a full 90-minutes it seemed like. Hopefully we can carry that into Toronto and we need to if we want to get back in this thing."
Added Warzycha: "I hope we find some consistency. If we play well enough, we can score the goals. I think the performance against New York was very good, so hopefully that continues.
"We need to win two games in a row, obviously Toronto is on the way. That's enough motivation."