Toronto FC and the Columbus Crew meet in the opening installment of the Trillium Cup on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field with the home side looking to break their duck in the competition. The Crew are unbeaten in 11 meetings all-time between the clubs. TFC is coming off a 3-0 home loss to D.C. United, extending their current winless streak to four games. The Crew are riding a record shutout streak after defeating Sporting Kansas City 1-0 last weekend.
REFEREE: David Gantar. SAR (bench): Joe Fletcher; JAR (opposite): Philippe Briere; 4th: Paul Ward MLS Career: 2 games; FC/gm: 18.5; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 0; pens: 0
INJURY REPORT: TORONTO FC – OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); QUESTIONABLE: DF Adrian Cann (pectoral contusion); FW Alan Gordon (adductor tightness); MF Alen Stevanovic (adductor strain) …
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: TOR: Ty Harden (through April 23)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Toronto FC 0 wins, 10 goals … Crew 5 wins, 18 goals … Ties 6
AT BMO FIELD (5 meetings): Toronto FC 0 wins, 5 goals … Crew 1 win, 6 goals … Ties 4
RETURN MATCH: 9/10: Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.
LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/27: CLB 2, TOR 0 (Iro 29; Barros Schelotto 86)
10/16: TOR 2, CLB 2 (Maicon Santos 29; Peterson 38 – own goal 15; Hesmer 90)
- Toronto FC have never recorded a victory against Columbus, in 11 meetings all-time. The teams have played to six draws overall – including each of the last four games at BMO Field.
- Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer scored a last-minute equalizer in the second meeting a year ago, keeping the Crew’s unbeaten record intact against TFC. It was the second goal scored by a goalkeeper in MLS history.
- The last four meetings at BMO Field have ended in draws.
- The teams are playing for the Trillium Cup, awarded by the supporters’ groups of both clubs.
- Coaches record: Aron Winter vs. CLB: first game … Robert Warzycha v TOR: P5 W2 L0 D3
Toronto FC lost for the first time after three consecutive draws, falling 3-0 to D.C. United on Saturday evening at BMO Field. TFC has 6 points from 6 games on the season, in a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
- United were two goals to the good before the game was 10 minutes old. In the fifth minute, Chris Pontius took advantage of a giveaway and raced in on goal, slotting the ball under a hard-charging Stefan Frei.
- Then in the 10th minute, after Charlie Davies intercepted a pass, he fed to Josh Wolff. Frei made the initial stop with Wolff in alone, but Davies swept home the rebound.
- TFC went a man down four minutes into the second half when Dan Gargan was sent off after taking down Pontius as he looked to be clean through on goal.
- But Pontius got his brace after stepping inside Julian de Guzman and firing a curling shot into the right corner past a diving Frei in the 73rd minute.
- TFC head coach Aron Winter made two changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the LA Galaxy at BMO Field. Oscar Cordon came into the midfield and Maicon Santos returned to the attack, for Dan Gargan and Gianluca Zavarise.
- TORONTO FC (4-1-2-3): Stefan Frei - Jacob Peterson, Ty Harden (sent off 49), Adrian Cann (Nana Attakora 12), Danleigh Borman - Julian de Guzman - Oscar Cordon (Dan Gargan 54), Tony Tchani - Javier Martina, Maicon Santos (Gianluca Zavarise 66), Alen Stevanovic.
- Toronto FC have now allowed four goals in the opening 15 minutes of games – by far the most in MLS. Six of the nine goals conceded by the Reds have come in the first half, also leading MLS.
- “It’s the same type of start we had against L.A. (Wednesday in a 0-0 draw) but this time D.C. was able to capitalize,” Julian de Guzman. “Every game that you play in MLS I think the most important moment is the first 15 to 20 minutes . . . and we have to use the home advantage, especially with the fans behind us, and it’s something we didn’t do.”
- No team in MLS has yet won a game this season after conceding the opening goal. “The first 10 or 15 minutes is unacceptable,” Nana Attakora said to the Toronto Star. “You should start off fired up. Even if you need to kick it out, kick it out. Just do what you need to do. Don’t give up goals. We’re killing ourselves right now starting off slowly.”
- After scoring four goals in the opening two games of the season, TFC has scored just two in the last four games and gone 243 minutes without a goal.
- “We are rebuilding,” Winter said, “and the way that we were training each game we were getting better, but today nothing was going the way that we want.”
- Making his first start at right back after starting the previous five matches in the center of midfield, Jacob Peterson played a role in the opening goal.
- “I know how to play that position,” Peterson said. “It was just a mistake, simple as that. There’s plenty of them around the field but unfortunately, as a defender, you make a mistake and you get beat.”
- There are injury concerns coming out of the United match. Center back Adrian Cann lasted just 12 minutes after suffering a pectoral contusion. He is listed as questionable for the weekend. His defensive partner, Ty Harden, is suspended for the visit by Columbus.
- Forward Alan Gordon missed a second consecutive game with adductor tightness, and Winter said a determination will be made during the week about his availability for the Columbus match.
- Winger Alen Stevanovic started for a fourth consecutive match, but is listed as questionable with an adductor injury as well, and with the fixture congestion of the Canadian Championship looming, Winter said the club will "have to be careful."
- The Columbus Crew extended their unbeaten run to four games, defeating Sporting Kansas City 1-0 on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew have 8 points from 5 games on the season, in a three-way tie for second place in the Eastern Conference.
- The game's lone goal came eight minutes after the second-half restart. Kevin Burns sent a service into the penalty area where Dilly Duka flicked the pass back to Robbie Rogers on the left. Rogers chested the ball, then slotted a shot past KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
- Sporting finished the game a man down when defender Julio Cesar was sent off for a second caution in the 72nd minute.
- Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made one change to the team that reached a scoreless draw with Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. Dilly Duka came into the side in place of Dejan Rusmir.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): William Hesmer - Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Rich Balchan - Kevin Burns, Dilly Duka - Eddie Gaven, Emmanuel Ekpo (Dejan Rusmir 89), Robbie Rogers (Jeff Cunningham 77) - Emilio Renteria (Tommy Heinemann 67).
- The Crew have not allowed a goal for 373 minutes after the 1-0 win against Sporting Kansas City, one minute shy of the club mark set in 2009.
- “No one wants to let anybody down,” Chad Marshall said. “No one wants to be that one mistake that happens in the game. Maybe that was a problem in the past. We’d give up one mistake a game and get punished. When the mistake happens now guys are busting to get over there and cover it. It’s fun to be a part of it.”
- Goalkeeper William Hesmer has recorded four consecutive shutouts, a club record. Three times previously Columbus had recorded three consecutive shutouts, most recently in 2009.
- “It’s a team accomplishment,” Hesmer said. “Sometimes the goalkeeper’s name goes behind the shutout column, but really — from top to back — we’re doing an amazing job defending. We’re organized. We’re communicating, and for a goalkeeper this is a dream to sit in behind a group of guys like this.”
- Robbie Rogers scored his second goal of the season, equaling his haul from the last two seasons combined.
- “It’s great to see Robbie getting goals,” Hesmer said. “He’s the type of guy who once he goes one or two, hecould explode for 10.”
- Eddie Gaven played a more forward role, alongside Emilio Renteria in attack for the Crew. Dilly Duka, making his first start since the season opener, provided attacking thrust from a wide role along with Rogers.
- “He did well in practice,” Warzycha said. “He deserved to be on the field today. It was a good performance, especially in the second half. We had 30, 35 minutes where he was very active.”
- After starting the first four matches of the season, Dejan Rusmir went to the substitutes’ bench as Kevin Burns was the lone deep-lying central midfielder, behind Emmanuel Ekpo.
- "We're trying to find the best position for everybody, where they felt most comfortable," Warzycha said.
- Though healthy and available for selection, Andres Mendoza did not figure in the match after missing the Chivas game to a groin injury."We felt it would be better to save him a little bit for the next game," Warzycha said to the Columbus Dispatch of the Crew’s designated player.