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Recap: Toronto FC lose to the Crew in Columbus

The Reds have now lost two games in a row, after being defeated by the Columbus Crew 2-1 on Saturday.

Toronto FC’s Jayden Nelson attempts to send a pass while being marked by Columbus Crew midfielder Derrick Etienne Jr.
(Greg Bartram/USA Today Sports )

Head coach Bob Bradley made three changes to Toronto’s starting XI after their 4-1 defeat at home to New York Red Bulls last week.

First MLS starts were given to defenders Lukas MacNaughton and Kadin Chung, who replaced the suspended Carlos Salcedo, and Shane O’Neill who was moved to the bench. Jacob Shaffelburg picked up an injury and is expected to be out for a few weeks, midfielder Noble Okello started as Bob Bradley changed his side’s formation which played a back three.

TFC saw plenty of possession early on in the match, as Okello got into advanced positions and had some impact on a couple attacking plays, including a header on goal that was saved by Crew ‘keeper Eloy Room.

Columbus’ first chance of the match came in the 10th minute off a free kick. Set piece expert Lucas Zelarayan’s shot was not far off target, Toronto keeper Alex Bono was rooted to the spot as he watched the Argentinian’s attempt go just wide of the post.

Toronto was forced into making an early change when Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty was forced off with an injury, Ifunanyachi Achara came on for him in the 12th minute.

The Reds opened the scoring in the 14th minute through Jesus Jiménez. The goal came right after a Luca Petrasso corner kick was partially cleared by Columbus defence. Jonathan Osorio had possession at the edge of the box, and sent a pass to Alejandro Pozuelo who then sent in a cross with his weak foot, that pass found the unmarked Jiménez in the six-yard box who headed it home. That’s his second goal in as many games.

The visitors had a great chance to double their lead in the 27th minute with Petrasso. The homegrown went on yet another lung-busting run down the left flank, while connecting passes with Achara and Jiménez before taking a shot that was saved by Room.

On the other end of the pitch, Chung put in a tough tackle on Crew winger Yaw Yeboah to win the ball. It showed a lot of similarities to many challenges that Chris Mavinga has put in for the club over many seasons.

Toronto’s first chance of the second half was created by Pozuelo and almost put away by Achara in the 49th minute. The Spanish midfielder sent a through ball to Achara, whose low shot was parried behind for a corner by Room.

Bono was called into action in the 54th minute, as he made a stop on Columbus captain, Jonathan Mensah. Mensah got onto the end of a corner and connected well with a header, but the Toronto ‘keeper was equal to the task.

The home side levelled the match just two minutes after that chance with a goal from Lucas Zelarayán.

Less than 10 minutes later, Derrick Etienne Jr. put the Crew ahead. A Zelarayán cross from a set piece found the head of Mensah, who then headed it down to Etienne Jr., who did the rest.

With this result, Columbus sit atop the Eastern Conference for the time being with seven points.

Toronto FC will look to pick up their first win of the season next Saturday when they host D.C. United at BMO Field. Kick-off is set for 3:00 p.m.