Toronto FC might want to lawyer up after tonight's performance in Columbus, because any witness will testify they stole a point against the Crew tonight. A 3-3 draw may have kept Toronto's Trillium Cup alive, but they likely won't be proud of the way it played out.
Out of the gate it was clear that Toronto's three at the back setup was not preferable against an offensively gifted Columbus Crew side. It look only 17 minutes for league leading scorer Kei Kamara to add to his tally, scoring his 15th goal of the season and putting Columbus up 1-0.
The home side completely took over from there, and a fortuitous bounce off of Ethan Finlay's foot found its way to former Toronto FC midfielder Tony Tchani who made it 2-0. Finlay would then add to Columbus's lead just after halftime.
All of this was the result of deplorable defending from Toronto, as the back three of Eriq Zavaleta, Damien Perquis and Justin Morrow were poor, and not helped enough by midfielders coming back. Ashtone Morgan cannot be healthy soon enough.
But it was the same old story for Toronto FC this season: while their defending was poor they were much better on the other side of the ball. Shortly after going down three Sebastian Giovinco was played a brilliant ball by Collen Warner and finished a half volley to give Toronto hope.
That hope only grew when Warner himself got on the end of a perfectly weighted Daniel Lovitz cross and scored one of his own to put Toronto within one. Then, in the last two minutes of the game Toronto were given a penalty which Jozy Altidore dutifully converted.
The draw means Toronto are still alive in the Trillium Cup, a trophy handed out to the in season winner of the Columbus Crew against Toronto FC. Columbus won the first game 2-0 before this 3-3 draw, meaning Toronto will need a big win in the team's last meeting of the season to retain the cup.
With the way it played out, it is hard for Toronto to be unhappy with the result but they can certainly be critical of their performance. The team's defensive shape was far too vulnerable throughout the match, and they were really quite lucky to only concede three goals.
Part of that was a tactical mistake from Vanney, who was without Ashtone Morgan after the left back got injured in the club's midweek friendly against Sunderland.
The formation did give Toronto a lot in attack, however. All three of Toronto's goals were a result, directly or indirectly, of wide play. Once again Dan Lovitz had a good game and gives Toronto a good option should they want to use wide players.
Giovinco created a lot of space for Lovitz as well, as he did a good job of drawing Columbus defenders out of position. While he didn't gain any ground on Kamara and Finley for the goal and assist leads respectively, he did stay up to pace. He now has 13 goals and 10 assists on the season.
There was some concern, however, as he was subbed off late and could miss next weekend with a heel injury. That would be a big blow for Toronto as they play the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
Toronto should have Captain Michael Bradley back for next week, however, as the American national team wrapped up their Gold Cup with a loss on penalties to Panama in the tournament's third place game.
That will be a big help as it should push everyone in the roster back in position. Morgan's injury is not believed to be long term as well, and new signing Ahmed Kantari should have gotten his transfer approved at that point.
Tonight was a lesson learned for Toronto FC, but their offensive abilities meant that it hardly cost them.