Toronto vs Columbus – Wednesday, November 29, 4:30PT/7:30ET – BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The MLS Cup Conference finals have been very much in the shadow of the #SaveTheCrew movement. An initiative created by Columbus supporters to keep the founding member of Major League Soccer in its current location appears to be dead in the water with the club likely moving to Austin, Texas in 2019. With this story in the background, it almost seems to be destiny for Columbus to win the title this season to upset the MLS hierarchy.
A 0-0 draw against Toronto at home could be considered a good start to do exactly that. Columbus are now in the driver’s seat and would advance with a draw equal or higher than a 1-1 thanks to the away goal rule. On the other hand, Toronto are likely not unhappy about the result in Ohio either.
The Reds were without superstars Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore in the first leg. The two forwards provide considerable firepower, and with both of them back in the line-up Toronto head coach Greg Vanney will be confident that Toronto can get the job done and advance to their second MLS Cup final in as many years.
Toronto vs Columbus – Player to look out for:
Sebastian Giovinco #10 – Toronto FC
Sebastian Giovinco is back in Toronto’s line-up after serving a one-match suspension in the first leg of the MLS Cup Conference Finals. The Italian received his second yellow card of the playoffs after throwing a temper tantrum in the second half of Toronto’s MLS Cup semi-finals matchup against the New York Red Bulls. Considered the best player to have ever played in Major League Soccer Giovinco has a wealth of talent, but he has thus far failed to guide Toronto to a championship. To do so, he will have to show that his ego is not more significant than the team and that he cannot just be a world-class player, but also a leader for his side.
Ola Kamara #11 – Columbus Crew
With 18 goals and five assists Norwegian forward Ola Kamara is Columbus’ top scorer. Signed from Austria Wien in February 2016 the 28-year-old Kamara is finally showing his goal scoring ability. Always considered a raw goal scoring talent Kamara failed to achieve a breakthrough with 1860 München all the way back in 2013 and has since bounced around various clubs in Norway and Austria. Now at the Crew Kamara has finally become a goalscoring guarantee.
Columbus vs Toronto – Match Stats
- Toronto’s overall record against Columbus is W8 D11 L13.
- Columbus head coach Gregg Berhalter, however, has had a more mediocre record against Toronto (W3 D4 L6).
- The record against current Toronto head coach Greg Vanney is, however, even (W3 D4 L3).
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Toronto vs Columbus – 2-0
Toronto vs Columbus – Possible Lineups
Bono –Mavinga, Moor, Zavaleta – Morrow, Vazquez, Bradley, Delgado, Beitashour –Giovinco, Altidore
Coach: Greg Vanney
Steffen – Jimenez, Williams, Mensah, Afful – Trapp, Abu –Meram, Higuain, Pedro Santos – Ola Kamara
Coach: Gregg Berhalter
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.