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Toronto FC @ Columbus Crew: Game Thread

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Time to see if there's backbone to the flash, steak behind the sizzle, as a seriously weakened TFC head into Columbus to face a 3-0 Crew team. Try not to tear your hamstring as you follow all the action here.

Gilberto. One of the few TFC players not actually injured today.
Gilberto. One of the few TFC players not actually injured today.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Crew Stadium, 6pm Eastern
Sportsnet 360

100% record? smashed in ugly fashion. Defoe? Injured. Caldwell? Suspended. Henry, injured. Osorio, injured, Morgan, injured. Going to Columbus, where TFC almost never do well, against noted TFC killer Federico Higuain and a Crew team that have so far looked very impressive. This one could get ugly.

Hopefully it won't. After all, despite missing a few players, expectation should still be higher than 2013 levels, the lineup is still better and this is a good chance for some of the lesser lights to shine, for someone other than Defoe to get themselves on the scoresheet. Gilberto is now the man everyone will be looking to set up rather than him being one of many looking to set up Defoe, can he grab the opportunity? Can Dwayne de Rosario, more than likely alongside Gilberto up front, get his 2014 season going? He's shown little so far, which he can't be happy with. Can Jackson properly marshall his feistiness to be an effective player? Can Alvaro Rey turn his eye catching dribbling into something productive? Can Jeremy Hall help keep Higuain quiet and allow Bradley some freedom to get forward and effect the game like he did for the states midweek? I'd keep going, but you get the picture and who really wants to talk about the defence at this point?

Everyone's expressed concerns about TFC's depth, and here we are with an early test of that. This game could tell us a lot about if this squad is capable of doing big things this season, or if they are going to be a ragtag bunch with a limited coach, a one trick pony relying on the superstars pulling something our of their arses on a regular basis. Probably somewhere in between, but a decent performance here would go a long way to easing concerns about the team's depth and tactical acumen.

Anyway, for a fuller preview of all this, click here for the storystream which will give you Kristin's preview, 2 parts of Know Your Enemy from James, How you doin'? with Pat Murphy of Massive Report (go there for the Crew take on the game) and the latest episode of the Vocal Minority Podcast.

We'll have team news when it hits twitter and commentary, more than likely with all the bleak gallows humour you came to expect through the 2013 season, throughout the game. Join us.

Come on you Reds!