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FT: Toronto FC 2-0 Columbus SC—Game thread, preview, and how to watch

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It’s the first edition this year of the Trillium Cup as Toronto FC play host to Columbus SC. Will Toronto FC pick up their first win of the season? Follow along tonight’s action with Michael Singh.

Nashville SC v Toronto FC Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images

Game Thread

FT: Toronto FC 2-0 Columbus SC—What a game from Toronto FC—huge statement after laying an egg against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. Chris Armas has his first MLS win for Toronto FC.

86’—GOAAAAALLLLL!!! Toronto FC 2-0 Columbus SC: JOZY ALTIDORE!!!! Omar Gonzalez gets up at the far post off a free kick, heads the ball back across the face of goal, and it’s a crashing Altidore finishing the play off on the goal line! That’s huge for Jozy.

76’—Ralph Priso holding his hamstring is forced to go off. The 18 year old has had a great game. Tsubasa Endoh checks into the match for the holding midfielder.

75’—Jozy Altidore just turned the clock back, hitting a 25-yard strike off the cross bar. That would’ve been something spectacular.

65’—Kemar Lawrence debut alert! He comes into the game for Soteldo, who looked lively today. I’m eager to see him line up alongside Alejandro Pozuelo.

62’—Vintage Jozy puts that away 10 times out of 10. Fantastic ball over the top from Michael Bradley to find his countryman, but the TFC striker’s touch lets him down.

59’—This game is still just 1-0 despite all of the chances TFC have created. Columbus comes close to tying the game after a corner kick is poorly defended...this game is still in the balance.

55’—Alex Bono is shown a yellow card after ... uhhh.. an interesting play. He takes down a Columbus attacker outside of the box, sliding out in hopes of clearing the ball.

53’—Omar Gonzalez’s strike off the corner kick is headed off the line! Another great ball swung in by Yeferson Soteldo.

51’—Chris Mavinga with a great sliding tackle at the top of the box. You love to see it.

50’—PSA:

46’—We’re back. This game needs to be three points. Let’s close this out.

Current vibe:

HT: Toronto FC 1-0 Columbus SC. What are we thinking folks?

44’—Ayo Akinola has done such a great job of holding up play so far this first half. This opening 45 has been a strong one for the Reds.

36’—Chance for Nick DeLeon at the top of the box, but he can’t connect cleanly first time on a cut-back from Auro—who is now playing down the right with Laryea on the left.

32’—Another sound save from Alex Bono as once again ... Columbus are able to cut in from the left and get a strike away. TFC have to close that down better, but Bono was up to the task. Great start from Bones.

25’—CHANCE! Chance doesn’t begin to describe the opportunity Yeferson Soteldo had there to open his bank account for the club. After Nick DeLeon hits the post, the ball finds Soteldo’s feet and he has a yawning cage—and I mean yawwnnnning cage—but the Red Bulls defender some how, some way, slides in and saves the day. Wow.

24’—Fitting day for TFC to play the Danny Dichio song.

16’—Big save from Alex Bono early on! He stops Zardes 1-on-1, as he closes down quickly before the U.S. international could get a shot off. Odd that the Columbus striker didn’t shoot earlier, but Bono did well to give him nothing.

15’—GOAAAAL! Toronto FC 1-0 Columbus SC: Michael Bradley!!! After a scramble in the box, the captain picks it up at the penalty spot and slots home. Great early start for Toronto FC.

11’—Half chance for Columbus as Matan cuts in from the left past two TFC defenders before putting his shot just wide of the far post. We’ve seen TFC get burned on that exact play against Cruz Azul once already this season.

9’—Soteldo with superstar vibes early on.

4’—Soteldo looks engaged right now. He’s already causing problems down the left wing for Columbus. After winning a free kick, he puts in an absolutely gorgeous cross, but TFC couldn’t get on the end of it. That service was great though.

2’—Two minutes in and Toronto FC already look way better. Kicking off from right to left here at Exploria Stadium in Orlando.

7:05 pm ET: That was a lot of fun! Thanks to everyone for tuning in! Let’s get this show on the road.

6:15 pm ET: Myself and friend of the site Mike Newell will be hosting a pregame show on Twitter Spaces for any of you interested in tuning in. You have to log into the Twitter app on a mobile device and follow @MichaelSingh94 or @WakingTheRed on Twitter to join the space.

6:11 pm ET: It’s game day! Thanks everyone for joining us once again for this one as Toronto FC take on the reigning MLS Cup champions and newly-rebranded Columbus SC for the first time this season. The team, of course, is still searching for their first win of the season, so hopefully tonight’s the night!


Starting XI

Toronto FC Starting XI vs. Columbus SC:

Columbus SC Starting XI vs. Toronto FC:


Match Preview (via Anthony Khoury)

TORONTO, Canada—Following the 2-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls in match-day three of the 2021 MLS season, Toronto FC has gotten off to their worst start to a league campaign since 2012.

With just one point from three games, TFC, along with the Chicago Fire and FC Cincinnati, are the only teams in the Eastern Conference who have yet to register an MLS victory in 2021.

Up next for the Reds is a “home” fixture against the recently rebranded Columbus Crew SC. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM EST at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando.

After two goalless draws in their opening two matches, the Crew picked up their first three points of the season this past weekend after dispatching D.C. United 3-1 at home. Columbus is just one of three unbeaten sides left in the Eastern Conference and will be coming up against a Toronto team with a whole lot to prove after a dismal performance in New York.

TFC had just one shot on target against the Red Bulls, yet another sign of Toronto’s lack of attacking prowess during the early stages of the campaign. Ayo Akinola made his first MLS start of the season up front, but was largely ineffective in the final third. At the back, Chris Mavinga played his first minutes in MLS this year as he completed the full 90.

Another player who received their first minutes not only in MLS, but also for TFC was Yeferson Soteldo, who came off the bench in the second half to make his highly anticipated debut for Toronto. Fans were given just a small taste of the quality he looks set to bring to the side this season.

While Soteldo is in line to make his first TFC start against Columbus, Alejandro Pozuelo looks set to be ruled out once again. TSN reported that the reigning MLS MVP would remain sidelined for another seven to 14 days.

As well as the Spaniard, Ifunanyachi Achara, Julian Dunn and Erickson Gallardo were also not in the 18-man squad against New York and will remain out against Columbus.

Jonathan Osorio, who is the only TFC player to have scored more than once this season, is questionable for Wednesday with a right thigh injury, while Jozy Altidore is set to return after recovering from an illness.

New signing Kemar Lawrence will be available for selection and could make his TFC debut in Orlando. The club formally announced the Jamaican international’s arrival on Friday, with the full back returning to MLS after leaving the Red Bulls for Anderlecht in early 2020.

The online debate has also escalated with regards to Alex Bono’s place in the team. With 14 goals conceded and zero clean sheets in TFC’s opening seven games in all competitions, many have called for Quentin Westberg to be given the opportunity to reclaim his place as Toronto’s first choice goalkeeper. Bono is very much a man on thin ice and will need to win over his doubters if he gets the nod in goal against Columbus.

On the goalscoring front, Toronto has bagged just four goals in three MLS games and eight in seven across all competitions. All in all, it’s been a feeble start to the season in front of goal, with TFC now at risk of going three games without a goal after drawing blanks against both Cruz Azul and the Red Bulls.

As for the Crew, each of their three MLS goals this season came in the victory against D.C. over the weekend. That game also saw the reigning MLS Cup champions concede their first and only league goal of the campaign thus far. With the best defensive record in the entire league, Columbus’ dogged back line will have their sights set on a third clean sheet in four against a Toronto side who are in dire needs of some goals.

Wednesday’s match will be the 39th meeting in history between Toronto and Columbus, with Toronto having won this fixture 11 times. The Crew, meanwhile, have triumphed on 14 occasions, while 13 encounters finished all square.

Recent results have favoured Toronto, as the Reds are unbeaten in 11 of their last 13 games against Columbus. The most recent clash between these two sides saw TFC emerge 3-1 victors thanks to goals from Altidore, Pozuelo and Richie Laryea. Altidore’s goal in that game was his sixth for TFC against the Crew, making him the second top scorer in the matchup’s history (behind Federico Higuaín’s 10).

After three games, there’s already some ground to make up for Armas and co., but a victory over the reigning MLS Cup champions will undoubtedly serve as a major morale booster for TFC and their injury-stricken squad. With Soteldo in the fold for a place in the starting lineup, let’s hope he can spur the Reds to an overdue first MLS win of the season.


How to Watch

Opponent: Columbus SC
Time: 7 PM EST
Location: Exploria Stadium, Orlando Florida.
Channel: TSN 4 / 5