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FT: Toronto FC 1 - 0 Columbus Crew SC — Game thread and preview

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TFC welcome back Bez as the Reds try to make the most out of Decision Day

MLS: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC
Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley (4) sends the ball forward against Columbus Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium.
(Bartram/USA TODAY Sports)

Game Thread

FT: 1-0 TFC. WE DID IT!!!!!!! HOME PLAYOFF GAME

90+3 — Almost there...... fans out here blowing whistles

89’ — Pozuelo checking out for Patrick Mullins here late. Third sub made for TFC.

88’ — TFC taking the life out of this game late. They need to see this one out....

87’ — Still 0-0 between DC and Cincy.....

76’ — A nasty cleats up challenge by Marky Delgado gets his name into the book. Don’t mind that from our gritty midfielder.

73’ — Former TFC player Jordan Hamilton checks into the game for Columbus. Good to see him back at BMO

72’ — TFC playing a 4-3-3 now with Poz as the striker, Benezet down the left and DeLeon down the right.

69’ — Jozy Altidore really slow to get up after his shot was blocked. Took a hard fall. Medical staff out here to tend to the striker who seems to be labouring. Taking his time, and limping off the field. Nick DeLeon will come on for Altidore.

68’ — It’s beautiful watching Pozuelo and Benezet link up. If only they weren’t playing on opposite wings.

65’ — Still 0-0 in the 65th minute between DC and Cincy

64’ — Crew really pushing here, but Westberg does well once again. The Reds need another one to take the life out of this game.

62’ — Columbus get themselves a half chance, as their shot from the wing flies across the face of Westberg’s goal. TFC need to hold their ground here.

60’ — A great Pozuelo low-cross from the right doesn’t find a TFC player on the end of it, as the Reds squander a half chance there.

57’ — GOAL! POZUELO!!!!!!! 1-0 TFC! GIOVINCO ESQUE OFF THE FK! HUGE!!!!

56’ — Dangerous FK opportunity as Jozy Altidore is taken down at the top of the Columbus box... Poz standing over it...

55’ — Benezet comes into the game. Straight swap for Endoh. He’ll play on the LW while Poz plays more on the right.

52’ — Great cross by Endoh to find Morrow at the far post, but he can’t get a shot off. Man, this game is frustrating.

50’ — Ref appeared to call a foul on Poz in the TFC half, but it seems as though it may have been overturned by the fourth official. I’ll take it.

47’ — It looks like Pozuelo is playing up top alongside Jozy Altidore to begin the second half.... just kidding. He dropped back over to LW

46’ — We’re off again for the second half. No subs quite yet, but expect Benezet to come on very soon. We’ll keep a close eye on Cincy-DC....

It looks like Nicolas Benezet is warming up to come in to begin the second half... we’ll see.

What should TFC change in the second half?

HT: Toronto FC 0 - 0 Columbus Crew | Montreal Impact 2 - 0 NYRB | DC 0 - 0 FC Cincy

45+2 — Half chance for Columbus to end the first half.. not sure what to make of it. Can’t be the Reds.

45’ — FC Cincinnati just received two Red Cards against DC............. violent conduct...? And DC score immediately, but goal was waved off...

44’ — Omar Gonzalez does well to win a ball up in the air in Crew box, but Tsubasa’s shot from a tight angle goes wide. TFC need that final product...

41’ — Auro Jr. now a bit slow to get up... seems to be stretching out his back...

39’ — Also a perfect time to tell you that Montreal is now up 2-0. Let’s take care of business TFC...

38’ — A couple of injured players down here as Michael Bradley is slow to get up for TFC. He seems to be okay. Yellow card to the TFC captain.

37’ — Oh my! HOW DID THAT NOT GO IN!? MICHAEL BRADLEY! The TFC Captain had a sitter after a rebound off a Jozy Altidore point-blank chance, but Room comes up with two massive saves.

34’ — Great ball by Marky Delgado to find Jozy Altidore streaking, but his shot goes just wide of the far post. Best chance of the game right there.

33’ — The first time Poz manages to cut inside, he creates something. Poor cross by, Auro however. Get Poz off that wing in the second half.

32’ — A nasty challenge from Pedro Santos takes out Marky Delgado in the midfield... he looks to be okay though. Yellow card for the Crew MF

30’ — Quentin Westberg looking sharp 30 minutes in. TFC... not so much in the last 10. COYR...

29’ — Michael Bradley with a run as the defenders kept on backing up, but his shot drifts slowly wide.

27’ — Scoreboard update: 1-0 MTL(!) over NYRB and 0-0 between DC United and Cincy

25’ — Lmao Tsubasa. Morrow did well to release him down the line, but uh, yeah.

23’ — Alejandro. Pozuelo’s. Talent. Is. So. Wasted. On. The. Wing.

22’ — Massive save moments later for Westberg, as Zardes almost buries a shot from the top of the box moments after the collision.

20’ — Westberg comes out to clear the ball and collides hard with Luis Diaz — a scary collision after Westberg’s injury last weekend. The GK does well as Diaz seems to have gotten the worst of it, but he manages to walk off...

20’ — Not a bad 20 minutes for TFC. They’ve dominated and dictated the pace of play as expected. Growing angst around the stadium, however, with all the ties and points left on the field lately.

15’ — Looked like a foul on the edge of the box as Marky Delgado went down. That TFC press is so deadly, has they wait for the ball to hit the CDM and just pounce — starting with Delgado. That’s why he’s playing as a No. 10.... but man Poz is so wasted again...

13’ — Not gonna lie... Jozy looks like he’s moving more this game than he has the past month...

11’ — Pozuelo is so wasted on the RW....

8’ — Just when I bring up Endoh’s confidence, he opts to pass rather than take his defender on 1v1, but TFC win a corner... which eventually finds its way into Columbus Crew goalkeeper Eloy Room’s hands.

7’ — Endoh linking up well with Delgado and Altidore early. Man is he so much more confident or what?

4’ — It indeed looks like Jonathan Osorio is sitting in alongside Michael Bradley with Marky Delgado playing in front of the two holding midfielders. I like Delgado’s ability to win the ball back there, but can he provide that end product?

3’ — Auro Jr. finding space down the right side early on, but his ball into the box doesn’t find a TFC player

1’ — And we’re off... #DecisionDay 2019. Let’s see if we can get that home game

4:24 pm — Hate to be that guy.... but could this Michael Bradley’s last game at BMO Field? Hopefully not. Let’s go TFC

4:19 pm — Sun is out of the National anthems... let’s do this #TFCLive. We’ll be keeping a close eye on NYRB - MTL & DC United - FC Cincy....

4:15 pm — I’ll have to ask Vanney about Benezet after the match, but interesting to see the TFC manager going back to a 4-2-3-1.

4:12 pm — Kickoff won’t be until 4:25 pm this afternoon

4:07 pm — John Herdman here once again at BMO.... pumped for Oct. 15.

4:04 pm — Bones given a shout-out over the PA for reaching 100 appearances for TFC. A healthy Westberg means the TFC backup likely won’t see more than that as a Red

4:00 pm — Overcast starting to clear up as we’re a few minutes away from kickoff. Looks like five plus National anthems. Expecting Toronto FC to send a message before playoffs... hopefully they don’t disappoint.

3:47 pm — Expecting a 4:08 pm EST kickoff... but it’ll be dependent on the league. Let’s see if they get this going on time.

3:42 pm — I’ve sat in TFC’s press box for about four games, and I can confirm that the Reds love Drake. Strictly Drizzy for pregame beats.

3:40 pm — It was drizzling here earlier, seems to have subsided. Weather still looks pretty gloomy. Greg Vanney playing a 4-2-3-1 formation today with Oso listed as a holding midfielder beside Bradley and Delgado playing as the No. 10.... watch for that.

3:30 pm — Michael Singh live here at BMO on fan appreciation day. Expecting a packed stadium for this Trillium Cup match... we’ll be score board watching forrrrr sure today.... but let’s take care of business first.


Starting XI

Pozuelo still starts on the wing with Oso getting the nod over Benezet....

And the XI TFC will hopefully feast on tonight...


Preview

TORONTO, Ont. — The Reds finish off their final match of the 2019 MLS Regular Season Sunday afternoon when Toronto FC plays host to former General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko and Trillium Cup rivals Columbus Crew SC.

In what should be an eventful Decision Day — with all matches around MLS kicking off at 4 p.m. EST — TFC are looking to propel themselves from sixth to fourth with a win against the Crew and some help around the rest of the league. If the Reds don’t win, however, they could find themselves as low as seventh in the East. (Martyn Bailey’s By the Numbers breaks down TFC’s playoff scenarios ahead of Sunday’s game for us here.)

If they are able to sneak into the fourth, TFC will earn a first-round home date in the MLS Cup Playoffs, which is more crucial this year with the post-season converting to a one-and-done format — no more two-legged home-and-away ties.

Toronto rolls into Sunday confident, coming off a 2-2 away tie to the Chicago Fire, extending their undefeated run to end the MLS Regular Season to an impressive nine games. With that said, most of those matches have ended in draws, leaving a lot to be desired.

They’ll look to finish strong against a deceivingly tough Columbus Crew side, who are also undefeated in their last five matches, including earning an impressive 2-0 win over the third-place Philadelphia Union last weekend. In the teams’ first meeting this season on Aug. 17, a 90th minute Jozy Altidore goal helped secure a 2-2 away tie for the Reds.

After being eliminated from playoff contention, TFC’s Trillium Cup rivals look revitalized with the pressure lifted off their shoulders. Bezbatchenko must like what he sees from his boyhood club heading into the off-season, as Toronto may have their hands full Sunday afternoon.

The task at hand is in front of them. While Toronto and their fans will inevitably be scoreboard watching, none of that matters if the Reds don’t pick up the three points at BMO Field Sunday.

Let’s do it.


Predicted Starting XI

The Reds treat this one like a playoff game and go with their best possible XI against the Crew, as TFC’s starting XI needs minutes together as a group.

Have your say. Is this the XI that TFC starts?

Toronto FC’s Predicted Starting XI vs. Chicago Fire Sept. 29
Jeffrey P. Nesker/Waking the Red

How to Watch

This one is once again televised, folks.

Who: Toronto FC (12-10-11) vs. Columbus Crew (9-12-11)
When: 4:00 PM ET
Where: BMO Field, Toronto, Ont.
TV: TSN 4
Radio: TSN 1050