Live Game Thread
FT - Toronto FC 1-1 Columbus Crew
90’ - The Crew with two close opportunities to score the game winner, as both Alexandru Mățan and Zelarayan had chances.
84’ - A run from Mbongue weaved through some of the Columbus defenders, his low shot did not test Room.
After a VAR review, Jimmy Medranda levels it up just two minutes into his debut for #Crew96. pic.twitter.com/Bwy4PEBJGC— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 12, 2023
75’ - GOAL COLUMBUS CREW. Substitute Jimmy Medranda puts the ball in the back of the net. He was initially ruled for offside, but after a VAR check the goal stands.
73’ - Victor Vázquez is back at BMO Field! He subs on for Brandon Servania. Kobe Franklin makes his first team debut as he replaces Raoul Petretta who seems to have picked up a knock.
61’ - Goalscorer Deandre Kerr is substituted out for Hugo Mbongue.
60’ - A yellow card is issued to Kaye.
58’ - Good save from Johnson on a shot by Moreira.
54’ - Midfielder Aidan Morris puts the ball just wide as he got onto the end of a free kick from Lucas Zelarayán.
50’ - A decent spell of possession for Columbus culminates with a shot from Steven Moreira going over the net.
HT - Toronto FC 1-0 Columbus Crew.
45’ +4 - Jonathan Osorio’s shot from in close is saved by Room.
45’ - Michael Bradley heads out a Hernández cross for a corner.
32’ - A yellow card is issued to Crew defender Philip Quinton after a tough tackle on Laryea.
31’ - A right-footed attempt from Mark-Anthony Kaye goes wide of goal.
28’ - A shot from just outside the 18-yard box from Nagbe doesn’t trouble ‘keeper Sean Johnson.
Into the Starting XI, onto the scoresheet #TORvCLB | #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/jYj7WJV0gl— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) March 12, 2023
24' | DIAL IT UP, DK!!!— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) March 12, 2023
1-0 | #TORvCLB | #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/DgLLZlNlkq
24’ - GOAL TORONTO FC. Deandre Kerr with a brilliant piece of skill to evade the defender and beats ‘keeper Eloy Room at the near post!
21’ - Good individual play from Richie Laryea before he played a quick pass to Federico Bernardeschi. TFC won a corner.
13’ - Darlington Nagbe dribbled his way through midfield before laying off a pass to Cucho Hernández. His shot was blocked by a TFC player and went out for a corner.
2’ - Early offensive danger from Columbus results in an early corner for them.
1’ - And we are underway at BMO Field!
6:50 pm EST - Submit your scoreline guesses in our prediction league! Don’t forget to put in your final scoreline guesses.
6:35 pm EST - The Reds’ all-time home opener record is 8-2-6 (W-D-L).
6:30 pm EST - Toronto FC play their home opener tonight in what is expected to be a cold night on the lakeshore. The last match between the Reds and the Crew at BMO ended up in a 2-1 victory for the visitors.
No place like home ❤️— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) March 11, 2023
Catch the action live with #MLSSeasonPass on the @AppleTV app.#TORvCLB | #TFCLive
With no Adama Diomande or Ayo Akinola fit enough to play, Deandre Kerr gets his first start of the season. Federico Bernardeschi leads the line. Lorenzo Insigne is not in the matchday roster for Toronto.
Our Crew in Canada #Crew96 | @EaseLogistics pic.twitter.com/7U2j1MhG92— The Crew (@ColumbusCrew) March 11, 2023
Here is how Columbus lines up. Canadian Mohamed Farsi starts again, while former TFC Academy product Jacen Russell-Rowe is on the bench.
Match Preview via Adam Palermo
Get ready to pull out those hand warmers and wool socks ... because the Reds are returning to BMO Field! Toronto FC will be in search for their first win of the season when they welcome the Columbus Crew to town for the 2023 home opener on Saturday evening.
The weather forecasts predict sub-zero temperatures for Toronto on Saturday evening in what will be TFC’s first match in front of their own fans since a 1-0 defeat to Inter Miami on September 30, 2022. The Reds began their 2023 campaign on the road, first falling to D.C. United and then scraping a point in Atlanta. Returning to the city, Bob Bradley and his players will look to get in the win column for the first time in a longtime.
TFC has failed to win a match since August 2022, something fans are eager to see change in a long-awaited return to the shores of Lake Ontario. Last week’s 1-1 draw to Atlanta United brought the team a much-needed boost after a devastating collapse in the season opener. Following that up with a win at home could kickstart the season for what should be a competitive Toronto team.
The performance at Mercedes-Benz Stadium was far from perfect from a TFC perspective, but the team displayed defensive resilience in front of confident goalkeeping, something rarely seen in 2022. Atlanta dominated the possession and put considerable pressure on Toronto’s backline throughout the 90 minutes, but a new-look defence (and some Sean Johnson heroics) meant that TFC escaped with one point in their pocket.
The second match of the season brought with it more bad news on the injury front though. Strikers Adama Diomande and Ayo Akinola were both substituted out with hamstring injuries in a match which neither Lorenzo Insigne or Victor Vazquez participated in.
Ayo Akinola has now been ruled out, while Víctor Vázquez will indeed be available, per @MichaelSingh94. #TFCLive https://t.co/nWIZyIM79T— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) March 10, 2023
Insigne will likely return to the pitch in some capacity, and Vazquez could make his first start for TFC since October 2018. Diomande and Akinola will both miss the home opener however, opening the door for one of Hugo Mbongue or Jordan Perruzza to start. If Insigne is deemed fit enough to start, Bradley could also change things up by shifting the Italian international to centre-forward in order to make room on the wing for Vazquez.
Visiting BMO Field on Saturday will be Toronto’s Trillium Cup rivals, the Columbus Crew. After dropping both league meetings to Columbus last season, Toronto has the chance beat their familiar foe for the first time in four matches.
After missing out on last year’s postseason, the Crew are eyeing a bounce-back season in the Eastern Conference. Trying to help his team achieve just that is Armenian international Lucas Zelarayan, who is already in fine form this season. The winger scored both of his club’s goals in a 2-0 win over D.C. United last week, earning MLS Player of the Matchday honours.
What a performance from Lucas Zelarayan. #Crew96 pic.twitter.com/5T3CBXKyqC— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 6, 2023
Former CF Montréal boss Wilfried Nancy oversees a talented Columbus team which also includes goalkeeper Eloy Room, defender Milos Degenek, and striker Cucho Hernandez. Hernandez, Columbus’ newest Designated Player, joined the club last summer from Watford. The Colombian, who got the assist on Zelarayan’s first tally last weekend, has the talent to be one of the league’s best forwards this season. He will be one to watch in Toronto as he aims to net his first goal of 2023.
Columbus will bring a small Canadian contingent when they travel north of the border, as the Crew have Canucks Mohamed Farsi and Jacen Russell-Rowe on their roster. The two Canadians have made the jump to MLS after featuring heavily for Columbus Crew 2 during the team’s title-winning 2022 MLS Next Pro season. Farsi, a Montreal native and former Cavalry FC defender, has started the opening two matches for the Crew at right wing-back. Russell-Rowe meanwhile is viewed as the backup to Hernandez at striker. The TFC academy product and 2022 MLS Next Pro MVP will look to make an impact off the bench in his hometown.
Opponent: Columbus Crew
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm ET
Watch: MLS Season Pass
Stadium: BMO Field, Toronto, Ont.