The best match-up of MLS Week 8 is without question the Columbus Crew-Toronto FC battle at BMO Field. The Crew is riding a five-match winning streak, but must head to BMO Field, where Toronto is unbeaten this year.
There will be some juicy match-ups all over the field, from Marvell Wynne vs. Robbie Rogers to Guillermo Barros Schelotto vs. Maurice Edu. Mix in what should be a sold-out crowd at BMO Field and you have the makings of an instant classic.
Here is a rundown of some facts and figures on today’s match, followed by a breakdown of the match-up:
Columbus Crew (6-1) at Toronto FC (3-2-1)
WHEN: Today, 4pm
WHERE: BMO Field, Toronto
ALL-TIME SERIES: The Crew holds a 3-0-1 edge in the series
LAST MEETING: Adam Moffat and Alejandro Moreno scored goals to lift the Crew to a 2-0 victory at Crew Stadium on March 29. Toronto lost the match but did see more than 2,400 of its fans make the trip to Columbus for the match.
INJURIES: Columbus Crew- OUT: MF Duncan Oughton (R leg bone spur); MF Adam Moffat (R knee meniscus tear); MF Stefani Miglioranzi (L quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Gino Padula (L knee MCL sprain) Toronto FC- None reported.
MATCH-UP TO WATCH: Marvell Wynne vs. Robbie Rogers. The last time these teams met it was Wynne getting the better of this match-up as Rogers was rendered ineffective and was subbed out after 80 minutes. Rogers has been red-hot in recent weeks, including last week’s two-goal effort (which earned him MLS player of the week honors). If Wynne can stifle Rogers, it will be a big blow to the Crew’s attacking efforts.
OUTLOOK: The Crew has been playing some great attacking soccer, but has shown chinks in its defense. Columbus has played just one tough defense during its five-match winning streak, Houston, but will find the going rough against a Toronto back-line that has allowed just one goal in three matches.
The key for Toronto will be to get the ball to Amado and to make Columbus defend on the wings. Laurent Robert and Rohan Ricketts should keep the pressure on the Crew flanks. TFC would probably be better off starting Jeff Cunningham over Danny Dichio up top because Chad Marshall has the size and strength to deal with Dichio, but could be troubled by Cunningham’s speed.
The key for the Crew will be shadowing Guevara, who is the focal point of the Toronto attack. If Brian Carroll can minimize the amount of touches Guevara gets, that will keep Toronto’s chances down.
I think the home-field advantage and week off should give Toronto the boost it needs to stop the Crew’s winning streak. Guevara shines in a 2-1 Toronto FC victory.
Share your own thoughts on the match below and keep an eye out for a running commentary post closer to match-time.