TORONTO – Columbus Crew SC closed the 2017 Trillium Cup series on Friday night against the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference-leading Toronto FC. Despite being the only team in the MLS to defeat Toronto earlier this season, the Black & Gold fell 5-0.
While Crew SC (6-7-1, 19 pts.) ceded the 2017 Trillium Cup to Toronto (8-1-5, 29 pts.), the all-time series between the clubs remained in favor of Columbus at a mark of 13-8-10.
The Reds first found to find the net in the sixth minute as Toronto midfielder Victor Vazquez slotted a penalty kick on a low ball that saw Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen dive the wrong way. The penalty was given when Toronto forward Tosaint Ricketts tangled with Crew SC defender Jonathan Mensah inside the box.
The lead was doubled in the 39th minute when Toronto’s Justin Morrow rocketed a goal that grazed the fingertips of Steffen. Morrow was assisted by Ben Spencer. Toronto took the 2-0 lead into the half. The lead was raised to three in the 59th minute of the second half when Vazquez struck again on a free kick near the box. Vazquez’s shot went under the Crew SC wall before finding the net. Toronto’s fourth goal was added in the 81st minute when midfielder Jonathan Osorio pushed into the box and scored with the help of forward Jordan Hamilton. Hamilton struck again minutes later on a header thanks to a cross from Raheem Edwards.
While the scoreboard was not favorable for Crew SC, the stat sheet showed promise. Passing and possession were bright spots for the Black & Gold with tallies of 623-363 in total passes, 87 percent to 75 percent in passing accuracy, and 63.3 percent in possession compared to Toronto’s 36.7.
6’ – TOR – Victor Vazquez (PK)
39’ – TOR – Justin Morrow (Ben Spencer)
59’ – TOR – Victor Vazquez
86’ – TOR – Jonathan Osorio (Jordan Hamilton)
90’+3’ – TOR – Jordan Hamilton (Raheem Edwards, Jonathan Osorio)
The whole 90
Friday’s match allowed some of Crew SC’s younger and newer players to get some experience on the pitch. Rookie midfielder Niko Hansen started and played all 90 minutes along with recent acquisition midfielder Kekuta Manneh. Hansen recorded 20 successful passes in the opposition's half and won two take-ons in the match. Manneh passed 28 times successfully on Toronto’s half and had two shots.
Midfielder Justin Meram played the first 40 minutes of the match before exiting. Meram entered the match rated third in the MLS in the Audi Player Index. The Audi Player Index tracks and evaluates nearly 90 components and 2,000 player movements for every MLS match to calculate each player’s individual score. Meram also owns 35 completed dribbles on the season – no MLS player currently owns more than 30.