Michael Parkhurst
USA Today Sports Images

2014 in the past, Crew SC looks to turn tide versus Toronto FC

While last season was a success for the Black & Gold in various facets, three defeats to Toronto FC to lose possession of the Trillium Cup still stings for the club and its supporters. With 2014 in the rear-view mirror, Crew SC is looking to flip the script against the Reds in 2015, starting with Saturday night's clash at MAPFRE Stadium. 

"It’s a new year, new teams. There’s been a lot of turnover, of course, but all the guys that were around last year, we remember," Captain Michael Parkhurst said.

"We all remember the three games last year and the nine points they took from us, and it’s a huge disappointment. It’s in the back of our minds, but it’s not something we talk about in the locker room or Gregg [Berhalter] has mentioned at all. The feeling is there, and hopefully the extra motivation within the guys is there."

With the additions of U.S. Men's National Team star Jozy Altidore and Italian playmaker Sebastian Giovinco to supplement Michael Bradley pulling the strings in midfield, the Reds present a different challenge for the Black & Gold in 2015. Given his National Team experience with Bradley and Altidore, Parkhurst is prepared for the Toronto FC attack on Saturday.

"In the box, [Altidore] is a real handful, especially when he posts up on you — he can turn you because he’s extremely strong," Parkhurst said. "We have to be wary of that. He’s good in the air. He and Michael have a really good understanding. I’ve seen it in National Team training and games, when Michael gets the ball, his first look is to Jozy usually — especially over the top. It’s something we’re wary of, we know it’s coming."

The Black & Gold dominated the possession in two of the three matches against Toronto FC in 2014, out-crossing the Reds in the process. Parkhurst believes the addition of Kei Kamara could potentially turn the tide this season.

"I feel like last year, [Toronto] had a good gameplan," Parkhurst said. "They let us cross the ball a lot. In the first game, we had probably 30 crosses. They were very good in the air. We didn’t have that aerial presence. It’s different this year with Kei up there, so we’ll see.

"We see opportunities offensively that we can exploit this year."

Crew SC kicks-off versus Toronto FC at 7:30 p.m. ET on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. 

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