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MATCH NOTES: #CLBvTOR Eastern Conference Championship Leg 1

LAST MATCH RECAP

CREW SC FALLS TO NYCFC 0-2, ADVANCES TO EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP ON AGGREGATE SCORE (4-3)

On Sunday, November 5, Crew SC faced New York City FC at Yankee Stadium in the Second Leg of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Black & Gold came into the match with a 4-1 lead on aggregate score. NYCFC got on the scoreboard in the 16th minute, with David Villa converting a penalty kick. New York City FC inched closer to the Black & Gold’s aggregate-score lead through a 53rd-minute goal, scored by Andraz Struna and assisted by Rodney Wallace. The match finished in favor of NYCFC 2-0, but the series ended with Crew SC advancing to the Eastern Conference Championship through a 4-3 aggregate score.

CREW SC & TORONTO FC AT A GLANCE

All-time regular-season record: 13-8-10 (45 GF, 42 GA)
Home matches: 9-4-4 (31 GF, 23 GA)
Away matches: 4-4-6 (14 GF, 19 GA)

LAST THREE REGULAR-SEASON MEETINGS

04/15/2017 CLB 2 vs. TOR 1 W MAPFRE Stadium

05/10/2017 CLB 1 vs. TOR 2 L MAPFRE Stadium

05/26/2017  CLB 0 at TOR 5 L  BMO FIELD

POSTSEASON HISTORY

First meeting, 0-0-0 record (0 GF, 0 GA)

CREW SC TO HOST TORONTO FC IN FIRST LEG OF EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

Crew SC and Toronto FC will faceoff this Tuesday, November 21 at MAPFRE Stadium in the First Leg of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship. The Black & Gold will face Toronto FC at BMO Field in the Second Leg of the Eastern Conference Championship on Wednesday, November 29.

LAST REGULAR-SEASON MEETING

Crew SC and Toronto FC last met in the regular season at BMO Field on May 26 of this year, for the last of three regular-season Trillium Cup matches in 2017. Toronto scored five consecutive goals through Victor Vazquez, who tallied twice, Justin Morrow, Jonathan Osorio and Jordan Hamilton. e match ended in a 5-0 score line in Toronto’s favor, with Toronto FC winning the 2017 version of the Trillium Cup.

COACHES

Gregg Berhalter (53-47-36, Columbus Crew SC: ‘14 - Present)
vs.
Greg Vanney (51-35-26, Toronto FC: ‘14 - Present)

WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN

The English radio broadcast also is set to stream live on ColumbusCrewSC.com. The Spanish radio calls are also set to be streamed in Spanish on the LaMega1 App and via Tunein Radio as WVKOFM. The complete list of places to catch the Black & Gold on TV is available at ColumbusCrewSC.com in the drop-down item “Crew SC Bars” under the “Supporters” tab. For complete regional television listings, please visit http:// bit.ly/2017CrewSCBroadcast.

CREW SC ADVANCES TO AUDI 2017 MLS CUP PLAYOFFS EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

By virtue of defeating New York City FC over two legs on aggregate score (4-3) in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Columbus Crew SC advanced to the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship, which will be played over two legs against Toronto FC. e winner on aggregate score will then move onto the 2017 MLS Cup against the winner of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Championship series, played between the Houston Dynamo and Seattle Sounders FC.

BLACK & GOLD REACH MLS CUP PLAYOFFS EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR SEVENTH TIME IN CLUB HISTORY

This is the seventh time in club history that Crew SC has reached the MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship, having reached the same stage in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2008 and 2015. This is also the second time in four seasons under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter that the Black & Gold have reached the same stage, having previously achieved this in 2015. In 2015, the last time Crew SC reached the Eastern Conference Championship, the Black & Gold defeated the New York Red Bulls over two legs on a 2-1 aggregate score en route to reaching the 2015 MLS Cup.

CREW SC SET TO FACE TORONTO FC IN THE MLS CUP PLAYOFFS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN CLUB HISTORY

When Crew SC takes on Toronto FC in Tuesday’s Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship match, it will be the first time in club history that the Black & Gold take on Toronto in an MLS Cup Playoffs match. Despite the fact that Columbus has faced Toronto a total of 31 times in regular-season action dating back to 2007, the two have never met in the postseason. Since 2007, the Black & Gold have registered a 13-8-10 record against Toronto FC, outscoring the Canadian club 45-42 over that span.

BLACK & GOLD SET TO FACE THIRD CONSECUTIVE OPPONENT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MLS CUP PLAYOFFS

With its match against Crew SC in Tuesday’s First Leg of the Eastern Conference Championship, Toronto FC is set to be the third consecutive club in 2017 that the Black & Gold face for the first time in an MLS Cup Playoffs match. Previously, Crew SC took on expansion side Atlanta United FC in an Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Knockout Round match, before taking on New York City FC over two legs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Black & Gold defeated Atlanta United 3-1 via penalty kick shootout before dispatching NYCFC over two legs with an aggregate score of 4-3.

JUSTIN MERAM & WIL TRAPP BOTH MAKE 10TH ALL-TIME MLS CUP PLAYOFFS APPEARANCE

During Crew SC’s match against New York City FC in the Second Leg of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals (November 5), mid elders Justin Meram and Wil Trapp both recorded their 10th all-time MLS Cup Playoffs appearance. Meram and Trapp had previously featured for Crew SC in post-season action during the 2014 and 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs, starting in each of the 10 matches they played in. Additionally, both Meram and Trapp made starting appearances in the 2015 MLS Cup against the Portland Timbers.

BLACK & GOLD UNDEFEATED IN LAST EIGHT MATCHES AT HOME

The Black & Gold are undefeated over their last eight home matches across all MLS competitions with a record of 7-0-1, dating back to a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union at MAPFRE Stadium on July 22. Over that span, Crew SC has outscored its opponents 18-6 at home, scoring in all eight matches while also registering three shutouts. Crew SC is also undefeated at home against Eastern Conference opponents dating back to that same 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union at MAPFRE Stadium on July 22. During that span, the Black & Gold have posted a record of 5-0-0 against Eastern Conference opponents, outscoring them 12-4 while registering two shutouts.

JUSTIN MERAM & OLA KAMARA: ON TARGET AT HOME

Midfielder Justin Meram and forward Ola Kamara have proven to be lethal at home over Crew SC’s last eight home matches across all competitions. Of Crew SC’s 18 goals at home since a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union (July 22), Meram and Kamara have scored 11 of those goals, with Meram tallying six strikes while Kamara has registered five goals. Additionally, both players have recorded one game-winning goal over that span.

FEDERICO HIGUAIN: ASSIST MAESTRO

Midfielder Federico Higuain has continued his rich vein of form at home into the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, with the Argentine playmaker registering two assists in Crew SC’s 4-1 win over New York City FC during the First Leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals (October 31). Notably, Higuain has registered eight assists over Crew SC’s last five home matches across all competitions, dating back to a 2-1 win over FC Dallas on August 26 at MAPFRE Stadium in which Higuain assisted on both goals. Four of Higuain’s helpers over that span have been game-winning assists.

HIGUAIN ON VERGE OF MAKING 10TH ALL-TIME MLS CUP PLAYOFFS AP- PEARANCE

Federico Higuain, who is in his sixth season with Crew SC, is on the verge of making his 10th all-time MLS Cup Playoffs appearance for the Black & Gold. Higuain made his ninth appearance (all starts) in the MLS Cup Playoffs during the Second Leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against New York City FC (November 5). Should Higuain feature for Columbus in the First Leg of the Eastern Conference Championship against Toronto FC on Tuesday; he would become one of only three players in the current Black & Gold squad to have made 10 or more postseason appearances for the club. Previously, Higuain had featured for Crew SC during the postseason in 2014 and 2015, including starting for the Black & Gold against the Portland Timbers in the 2015 MLS Cup.

ZACK STEFFEN: LEADING GOALKEEPERS IN MULTIPLE AUDI 2017 MLS CUP PLAYOFFS CATEGORIES

Since the beginning of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs and through the Conference Semifinals, no other goalkeeper has registered more saves, faced more shots, or faced more shots on target than Crew SC’s Zack Steffen. Steffen has registered 14 saves dating back to Crew SC’s Eastern Conference Knockout Round match against Atlanta United FC (October 26), facing a total of 59 shots with 17 of those shots being on target. This is Steffen’s first year of play for the Black & Gold, as well as his first year in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

PLAYMAKER: PEDRO SANTOS TIED FOR MOST GOAL-SCORING CHANCES IN THE AUDI 2017 MLS CUP PLAYOFFS

Since the beginning of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs and through the Conference Semifinals, Crew SC midfielder Pedro Santos has created seven goal-scoring chances, and is tied with Seattle Sounders FC’s Nicolas Lodeiro and Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Yordy Reyna for most goal-scoring chances created in the 2017 postseason. Fellow Black & Gold players Federico Higuain and Ola Kamara are tied for second-most goal-scoring chances created, with six each.

SANTOS & ARTUR: LUSOPHONE DUO AMONGST TOP 10 TACKLERS DURING AUDI 2017 MLS CUP PLAYOFFS

Crew SC midfielders Pedro Santos and Artur have more in common than speaking the same native tongue. Through the Conference Semifinals, the Lusophone duo is among the top 10 tacklers in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs. Santos is tied with the Houston Dynamo’s Juan Cabezas for second- most tackles since the postseason began, with 10 tackles to his name. Additionally, he has an 80 percent success rate, having won all but two of his tackles. Meanwhile, Artur has attempted nine tackles, tied for fifth-most during the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, winning five of them for a 55 percent success rate.

THREE CREW SC PLAYERS RANK IN TOP FIVE FOR MOST INTERCEPTIONS IN AUDI 2017 MLS CUP PLAYOFFS

Through the Eastern Conference Semifinals, three members of the Black & Gold rank in the top five for most interceptions made in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs. Harrison Afful has the third most interceptions, with nine interceptions made. Afful is behind only Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Aly Ghazal (14) and the Houston Dynamo’s Juan Cabezas (11) in this category. Crew SC’s Wil Trapp and Jonathan Mensah are tied with the New York Red Bull’s Michael Murillo for fourth most interceptions, with eight interceptions made in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.

CREW SC: YOUNGEST TEAM IN AUDI 2017 MLS CUP PLAYOFFS

According to data compiled by Transfermarkt, of the four teams that qualified for the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Championships, Crew SC is the youngest team, with an average age of 26.0 years based on the 23 players that played in at least one or more regular-season matches for the club. Additionally, the Black & Gold also boast the youngest average age for their starting XI, at 26.1 years. During the 2017 MLS regular season, the average age of players across the League was 26.8 years.

AFFUL, KAMARA EARN CAPS DURING INTERNATIONAL BREAK

Defender Harrison Afful and forward Ola Kamara each earned caps for their respective national teams during the recent international break. Afful started for Ghana in a FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifying match against Egypt (November 12), captaining the Black Stars to a 1-1 draw as he earned his 76th cap for Ghana. Meanwhile, Kamara made a start for Norway in a friendly against Macedonia (November 11), playing 79 minutes. This was Kamara’s eighth international cap for Norway and his first since a substitute appearance in a friendly against England in 2014 (September 3). Kamara also earned his ninth cap as a substitute in Norway’s friendly against Slovakia (November 14). 

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