Crew SC is entering the year's third and final regular-season meeting with Eastern Conference rival Toronto FC on Sunday with the 2016 Trillium Cup on the line. After draws in the first two legs, a win for either side would claim the season series — as well as the trophy.
In the last meeting, at MAPFRE Stadium on July 13, Harrison Afful lashed his first career MLS goal in what eventually ended as a 1-1 draw. In the First Leg of the 2016 Trillium Cup, Crew SC and Toronto FC played to a scoreless draw at BMO Field.
"I think on the heels of maybe a little bit of the critique in the Orlando game, we have a Toronto game that provides a perfect opportunity because they have the best 1-v-1 player in the League so you have to be careful," Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said. "Sebastian Giovinco is very shifty, very good at faking shots, very good at getting you off balance and drawing opponents to him."
The two Eastern Conference opponents met three times in the 2015 regular-season and the Black & Gold secured seven of the nine possible points against the Reds.
Through the first two legs, Crew SC has completed a combined 84 percent of its passing and bombarded Toronto FC with a total of 25 shots (nine on-frame).
"Those two games were very difficult games," Cedrick Mabwati said. "They were very physical games and were expecting this third game to be difficult and physical again but we need to work hard. We’re going to go out there and try to get those three points because at this point in the season it’s important to try and make that playoff push. They’re not going to be as compact because they are at home and that’s how they like to win games at home. I think that’s going to be better for us because we’re going to have more space out there to work and try and get the ball up forward."
Columbus returns to action by concluding the 2016 Trillium Cup rivalry series on Sunday, July 31 at Toronto FC (7:30 p.m. ET / The CW Columbus, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1, English radio stream on ColumbusCrewSC.com).