MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew will look to build some momentum when they host Toronto FC on Saturday at 8pm (UK time).
Caleb Porter’s men have started the 2021 campaign in inconsistent fashion, taking just eight points from their opening six games. Toronto, meanwhile, only have five points to their name so far.
How to live stream Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC online:
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Where to watch Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC on TV:
- UK: Sky Sports Football
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Columbus Crew 2-1 Toronto FC
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Columbus Crew vs Toronto FC build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
There has been plenty of upheaval with the reigning MLS Cup champions during the early stages of this season, with the club’s front office making the controversial choice to change their badge and remove ‘Crew’ from their name. Fans later pegged the club back on the latter, with adjustments also made to the highly unpopular new crest. On the pitch, the Crew haven’t come close to matching the standards set in 2020, winning just two of their opening six games so far, leaving them outside the playoff places at this early stage.
But Columbus do have three more points than this weekend’s visitors, Toronto, who sit 12th in the Eastern Conference with just one win to their name. The Reds are struggling to adjust to new manager Chris Armas’ demands, but that sole victory did come against Columbus just over two weeks ago, so TFC will feel like they have a psychological edge over this weekend’s hosts.
- Columbus Crew (vs NYCFC): Room; Afful, Jonathan, Williams, Francis; Artur, Nagbe; Diaz, Zelarayan, Santos; Zardes.
- Toronto FC (vs Orlando City): Bono; Laryea, Gonzalez, Mavinga, Lawrence; Bradley, Auro; Delgado, Osorio, Soteldo; Altidore.
The Crew will remain without starting left-back Milton Valenzuela due to a thigh problem, while Perry Kitchen (thigh), Marlon Hairston (knee), Aidan Morris (ACL) and Kevin Molino (hamstring) are all injured, too.
Erickson Gallardo (groin), Julian Dunn (hip), Ifunanyachi Achara (ACL) and key playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo (thigh) all remain sidelined for the visitors.
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Players to watch:
- Columbus Crew: As was the case last season, everything Columbus do well right now seems to flow through Lucas Zelarayan. The Argentine playmaker grabbed eight goals and three assists in 21 appearances across all competitions to fire the Crew to MLS Cup glory in 2020 and has already started the new campaign with three more strikes. Incredibly, all three of those goals have come from free-kicks, with Zelarayan showing his dead-ball prowess to keep Columbus on the edge of the playoff picture. Toronto cannot afford to commit cheap fouls on the edge of the box on Saturday.
- Toronto FC: One of the biggest moves of the entire off-season was undoubtedly Toronto completing the signing of Venezuelan winger Yeferson Soteldo from Copa Libertadores runners-up, Santos. Soteldo was a goal and assist machine across two years with the Brazilian giants and it’s surely just a matter of time until he makes the jump to Europe. Until then, Toronto will look to get the best out of the 23-year-old and if they do just that, there’s no chance Armas’ side will be 12th in the East come Decision Day. Can Soteldo ignite his MLS career against the defending champions?
MLS 2021 recent form:
- Columbus Crew: WLLWD
- Toronto FC: LDWLD
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