With the opening weekend of the Major League Soccer regular season in the books, it’s time to turn our attention to the second week of action. In one of the biggest matches of the weekend, the Columbus Crew will host Toronto FC, as the two rivals meet in the first of three matches with the Trillium Cup on the line.
Last season, Toronto FC beat the Columbus Crew all three times the two clubs met to claim the trophy for the first time since 2011 and for only the second time since it was founded in 2008.
Toronto FC struggled to find their form early on last week against Vancouver as they went a goal down. However, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore didn’t need much time with their new club to show what they can do, as they went to work and helped inspire a 3-1 comeback for the Reds.
It was the second consecutive year that Toronto ended up winning their first game of the season, with a new star Designated Player scoring 2 goals and winning MLS ‘Player of the Week’. Altidore was brilliant against the Whitecaps as he had TFC fans quickly forgetting about Jermain defoe’s 2 goal performance against the Seattle Sounders in his MLS debut.
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Head coach, Greg Vanney deserves a ton of credit though for his adjustments at halftime as Toronto dominated their rivals after the break. While the backline was obliterated by the pace of the Whitecaps’ attack in the first half, Vanney made the necessary changes to ensure his team were better in the second.
New team captain, Michael Bradley spoke to the media on Thursday about the importance of the match before the team departed for Ohio on Friday.
The Reds may have been able to come from behind last week, but they will not want to make a habit of going down early, especially on the road.
The Columbus Crew were downed by the Houston Dynamo in Texas last week, but with the likes of Federico Higuain and Justin Meram, they are as dangerous as ever.
Mapfre Stadium will be rocking on Saturday evening, with Columbus playing their home opener against a rival. Last year, the Crew were able to finish third in the East. but were eliminated by New England in the Conference Semi-final.
Fans are expecting more from the club this year and will be out in full force to support their club against the Reds. While the Crew should not have any issues making the playoffs in the East, they do not want to find themselves without any points after two matches either.
Indeed, it may only be the second week of the season, but teams are already starting to feel the pressure to find their form and get results. Saturday’s tilt will be a heated affair between two clubs determined to improve on last season, providing for quite the entertaining contest.