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Preview: Toronto FC homestand continues against Columbus Crew

Will the good times keep rolling at BMO Field?

MLS: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC
Jahkeele Marhsall-Rutty with the ball at Field in the last game between Toronto FC and Columbus Crew.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC will clash with their Trillium Cup rivals, the Columbus Crew, on Wednesday night at BMO Field.

TFC are looking for a fourth win in a row at home in all competitions after defeating Atlanta United in dramatic fashion last time out.

A late Ralph Priso winner sealed all three points for TFC following a dominant first 45 against the 2018 MLS Cup champions. After conceding early in the second period, Bob Bradley’s side responded perfectly in front of their home support.

There seems to be a renewed sense of energy around the club as fans anticipate the debut of Lorenzo Insigne. The players on the pitch even seem to be taking notice.

In the early parts of the season, many TFC fans would had been hoping that their side could just stay in the playoff picture until Insigne arrives. And all credit to the team, they have done just that.

The match against the Crew on Wednesday will be the official halfway point of the regular season for the Reds, who are currently five points behind FC Cincinnati in the last Eastern Conference playoff spot. With positive momentum building and the Insigne era soon upon us, it is definitely within the realm of possibility that Toronto sneak into the MLS Cup playoffs for the sixth time in eight years. And from there, anything is possible.

MLS: Toronto FC Press Conference to introduce Lorenzo Insigne
Lorenzo Insigne lifts his new home shirt at his introductory press conference alongside Bob Bradley and Bill Manning.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

In terms of team news, Toronto FC will be without Jayden Nelson, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty or Jacob Shaffelburg are the likely names to replace Nelson in the starting lineup, with the pair making cameos off the bench in the last match. Bradley could also shift to a 4-3-3 shape and give Priso the nod in the midfield after a great display against Atlanta.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Toronto FC
Ralph Priso celebrates with the BMO Field faithful after the match against Atlanta United in which he scored the winner.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Additionally, Quentin Westberg and Carlos Salcedo were missing from training on Tuesday. It remains to be seen if they are able to participate in Wednesday’s match.

It was the Crew who were victorious in the last meeting between the sides in Columbus, with the hosts earning a 2-1 win back in March. A pair of second half goals from the home team erased TFC’s 1-0 first half lead.

Following that victory, Columbus went six matches without a win, including an embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Detroit City in the U.S. Open Cup. The Black & Gold have improved recently, going undefeated in their last three matches, as well as only conceding twice in that span. Columbus now sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, on the same number of points as Toronto FC in 11th.

The Crew’s defence has had to remain resolute with goals hard to come by. Leading scorer Lucas Zelarayan has missed the last three through injury. Other attackers Kevin Molino, Yaw Yeboah, Erik Hurtado, and Derrick Etienne are all questionable to feature against Toronto.

And let’s not forget, the illustrious Trillium Cup is up for grabs on Wednesday! With their defeat in the Ohioan capital earlier this season, the Reds must win in order to have a chance of claiming their fourth consecutive, and eighth total Trillium Cup crown.

Game Notes

  • Toronto FC are looking to win four games in a row at home for the first time since October 2021 when they defeated Chicago Fire 3-1
  • Toronto FC has not lost three consecutive matches to the Crew since May 2013

Predicted Lineups

Toronto FC: Westberg; Marshall-Rutty, Mavinga, Salcedo, Thompson; Petrasso, Bradley, Osorio, Pozuelo; Jimenez, Akinola

Columbus Crew: Room; Santos, Degenek, Mensah, Moreira; Zawadzki, Nagbe, Morris; Igbekeme, Berry, Diaz

Match Details

Opponent: Columbus Crew

Kickoff time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Watch: TSN

Stadium: BMO Field, Toronto, Ont.