Two teams currently in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference standings face off Saturday night in Canada when Toronto FC host the Columbus Crew.
It’s the home opener for Toronto (0-1-1, 1 point) after a 3-2 loss at D.C. United on February and a 1-1 draw at Atlanta last week. Columbus (1-1-0, 3 points) rebounded from a three-goal loss at Philadelphia in Week 1 to win its home opener 2-0 over D.C. United last weekend.
The Crew have won their last three matches against Toronto FC, all by 2-1 scores.
Seventeen of the first 19 shots registered by Columbus have been taken by Colombian forward Cucho Hernandez and Argentina native Lucas Zelarayan, who finished with 10 goals and 12 assists to lead the Crew in 2022.
Toronto had lost six in a row going back to last season before its draw against Atlanta. Toronto is also in danger of losing three straight at home for the first time since the 2012 season.
Forward Federico Bernardeschi of Italy leads Toronto FC with two goals. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson had five saves for Toronto against Atlanta.
“We’re super excited about the home opener,” Johnson told the team website. “It’s been two games on the road, two tough matches, and now to be in front of our fans at BMO Field is something we’re all looking forward to.”
For Columbus, new head coach Wilfried Nancy is trying to get his team to learn his system of play.
“Like any job, when you have a new boss, there are different principles, different dynamics and different standards,” midfielder Aidan Morris told the Columbus Dispatch. “Everyone here is hungry to learn.”
The two teams have a rivalry known regionally as the Trillium Cup, contested via season series every year and decided by aggregate score in the matches between the two. Of the 15 Trillium Cups, Columbus has won eight and Toronto FC seven, including three of the last four.
–Field Level Media
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