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FT: Columbus Crew 3-3 Toronto FC — Reds collapse in Ohio

Soccer is pain.

MLS: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC played a roller-coaster of a match tonight at Mapfre Stadium against Columbus Crew SC. They took a 3-0 lead after goals from Victor Vazquez, Tosaint Ricketts, and Sebastian Giovinco. Then, the Crew came right back, scoring three times in the last half hour of the match to salvage a point at home.

TFC emerge with their first road point of the season, but this one will feel like a loss after they had a 3-0 lead in the second half. There were lots of positives in the first two thirds of the game — the defence was solid, and TFC were capitalizing on chances.

This one might be a little demoralizing, as points continue to slip away from Toronto.

Back at it again next week against a shorthanded Philadelphia Union.

93’ — Ricketts picks up a yellow as well.

92’ — Liam Fraser picks up a yellow card.

89’ Columbus Crew 3-3 Toronto FC — Ah. Michael Bradley pulls down Gyasi Zardes in the box, and it’s a penalty to Columbus. Federico Higuain puts it rapidly into the bottom left. We’re all tied up.

86’ — Alex Bono gets a yellow for time wasting, which he is probably perfectly happy to take.

81’ Columbus Crew 2-3 Toronto FC — Higuain’s long free kick into the box is headed across goal by Josh Williams. Michael Bradley gets a head to it, but it doesn’t quite fall where he wanted it to, and Alex Crognale puts it into the net.

74’ — The last couple minutes have been a bit nervy. The Crew have had a few looks around the Toronto 18-yard box, and Harrison Afful fired one off the crossbar. Strap in, folks, we might not be done here.

68’ — Greg Vanney uses his final sub of the match to help shut it down. Nick Hagglund comes in for Ryan Telfer, and it looks like Michael Bradley will push back into midfield. The Reds appear to be moving to a back four, with Hernandez and Hagglund the central defenders.

67’ Columbus Crew 1-3 Toronto FC — Not quite time for TFC to rest on their laurels yet. Higuain sends an excellent corner just outside the six-yard box, and Gyasi Zardes puts a thundering header into the net well beyond Alex Bono’s reach. The Crew are on the board with that one.

58’ — Marky Delgado has come into the match to replace Jay Chapman, as TFC look to see this one out.

57’ Columbus Crew 0-3 Toronto FC — SEBASTIAN GIOVINCO IS A RED. He’s brought down a few yards outside the box trying to bring down a long ball from Victor Vazquez. The Italian steps up for the free kick, and what happens?

Glad you asked.

54’ — The boo-birds have picked up for Michael Bradley in the second half, with very little else going for the Columbus fans at the moment.

51’ — It was another minor detail in a so far spotless game for him, but Gregory van der Wiel just took a perfect first touch off his head to turn a Columbus cross into an easy pass to Alex Bono.

46’ — Toronto FC are back out for the second half, hoping to do it all again after a successful first 45.

HT — That’s pretty much a dream first half for Toronto FC. Two goals and none conceded, and the Reds have looked very good since the first ten minutes or so. TFC have six shots and they’ve won 24 of 38 duels. The away team have looked organized and calm at the back, and the attacking players have looked liberated because of it.

38’ Columbus Crew 0-2 Toronto FC — Tosaint Ricketts has the Crew’s number. Another wonderful piece of play started of by Gregory van der Wiel, who plays it ahead. Seba finds Vazquez on the side of the box, and the Spaniard threads it across goal to a sliding Ricketts. Great team goal from TFC, who were bound to start finding their feet in front of goal eventually.

37’ — TFC came out of almost nowhere with a burst of speed as Victor Vazquez played a perfect ball to Giovinco, who hit the post.

33’ — Higuain and Artur have tried several times to curl a high cross in for Gyasi Zardes, but they all seem to be floating just a little beyond the striker’s head.

20’ — Jonathan Osorio is coming out, possibly because of the injury he suffered in the second minute. Tosaint Ricketts, notorious Crew-killer, enters the match.

Also, Jason Hernandez took a yellow card. That’s three already today.

18’ — Alex Bono makes a great reflex save off a corner as the ball juggles around a bit in the box, and the TFC keeper ultimately swallows it up by the near post.

16’ Columbus Crew 0-1 Toronto FC — Vazquez! Some great play on the counter between Victor Vazquez and Sebastian Giovinco leads to a pass in the box which Ryan Telfer tried to take on the back foot, but he was tripped up by Artur. The ref immediately points to the penalty spot, and Vazquez steps up to take it. Coolly into the bottom left, and the Reds are up 1-0!

The foul:

And the goal:

9’ — Artur puts an excellent ball over top into the box, but Jason Hernandez is in perfect position to get rid of it with a diving header.

8’ — Oso takes a yellow card of his own now as he pulls down Niko Hansen.

2’ — Artur takes a yellow card for Crew SC after an awkward incident with Jonathan Osorio, who’s down on the pitch in some pain. Looked like he could’ve hit his knee on Artur’s leg, or twisted it. He’s staying on the field, though.

1’ — Kickoff! Toronto FC are hoping for a big road performance tonight in Columbus against a strong Eastern Conference opponent. The Reds get the ball first, heading toward the north end of Mapfre Stadium.

Lineups have been posted at the bottom of the article! Just one hour to kickoff.

Greg Vanney has opted to use Sebastian Giovinco as a lone striker, with what looks like a back four including Jason Hernandez and Gregory van der Wiel at centre-back, with Auro and Ryan Telfer on the flanks. Michael Bradley returns to midfield alongside Liam Fraser. Marky Delgado, Nick Hagglund, and Nicolas Hasler are all on the bench for TFC tonight.

Toronto FC will be at Mapfre Stadium tonight, perhaps for the last time ever, as they battle Columbus Crew SC to try and chip away at some points in the standings. It’s be the second meeting between these two sides this season, after the Reds lost 2-0 in their MLS home opener back in March.

The Crew are a tough team to play against, with a relentless style of defence and a fairly conservative mindset with possession. TFC found out earlier this season that Columbus don’t give up much — the Reds took 12 shots and has 57.9% possession, but they couldn’t find a goal.

That game was four days before TFC hosted Tigres at BMO Field, so they may have had grander things on their minds. Still, it was hardly the way they’d have wanted to kick off their title defence campaign.

A lot of the Crew’s attack goes through Federico Higuain, who will be eligible to play after MLS rescinded his red card from last weekend. The link between him and Gyasi Zardes as worked quite well so far this season — Zardes has eight goals, and Higuain has three with four assists.

Unfortunately for Columbus, they’ll likely be missing both of the wide prongs on their three-pronged attacking midfield. Pedro Santos and Cristian Martinez, who normally flank Higuain, will likely miss out with injury and suspension, respectively.

The defence is very solid as well, with Lalas Abubakar anchoring the backline, usually alongside Jonathan Mensah (who may be absent with injury). Former TFC defender Josh Williams could be one of the candidates to step in and replace Mensah, especially after making the MLS Team of the Week for his performance last weekend against Sporting Kansas City.

Losing Wil Trapp to the U.S. men’s national team is quite a blow to the Crew, as he often holds things together in midfield, but Artur will still be there to help out in that respect. Ricardo Clark got the nod to fill in for Trapp earlier this season, and he might again.

This will be a real test for Toronto FC on the road. Hopefully they’ll have some reinforcements to bolster the lineup, in the form of possible returns for Nick Hagglund and maybe Nicolas Hasler, but things could still be a bit patchy. We’ll see how they handle this Trillium Cup clash down in Ohio.

Team news: injuries & suspensions

Toronto FC: Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Justin Morrow, Ager Aketxe, and Jozy Altidore are all confirmed to be out. It's also apparently unlikely that Eriq Zavaleta or Ashtone Morgan play, although he has been in training this week. Nico Hasler and Nick Hagglund could be back in action, though.

Columbus Crew SC: Defender Jonathan Mensah and midfielder Pedro Santos are expected to miss out with injury (although they’re listed as questionable, so either could be a late inclusion). The Crew will also be without goalkeeper Zack Steffen and midfielder Wil Trapp, who are on U.S. men’s national team duty, as well as Cristian Martinez, who’s serving a two-game suspension.

Federico Higuain was set to serve a suspension as well, but his red card from last weekend was rescinded yesterday.

How to watch

Match date/time: Saturday, June 2, 7:30 p.m.
TV: TSN 1, 3, 4 & 5 (Canada), Spectrum Sports Ohio
Live stream: TSN GO, ESPN+
Radio: TSN 1050


Toronto FC:

Bench: Irwin, Hagglund, Delgado, Akinola, Hasler, Ricketts, Mino

Columbus Crew SC: