Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew - Prediction, Preview and Odds -5/12/21
Columbus will play its third match in a seven-day span when it travels to Toronto on Wednesday night. The Crew picked up their first MLS win of the season in a 3-1 final against DC United over the weekend. Toronto lost to the Red Bulls in a 2-0 shutout and has not won an MLS match in 2021.
Columbus does it with Defense
Columbus put together another strong defensive performance in its last match, although it did allow its first goal of the MLS season. The Crew have allowed the least goals of any team in the league, though. They had played to a pair of 0-0 draws in their first two matches, so scoring three goals on Saturday was an offensive breakthrough. Lucas Zelarayan scored on a 25-yard free kick early in the match and then the offense pressured DC United into a pair of own goals for the other two scores. Columbus had lost to Monterrey earlier in the week.
The Crew are now knocked out of the CONCACAF Champions League, as Monterrey advanced with an aggregate score of 5-2. Zelarayan was suspended for Wednesday’s match, so he was fully rested for the match against DC United. He had the most key passes of any Columbus player during the win. Gyasi Zardes created pressure as a second-half sub and Jonathan Mensah had a solid defensive performance. Columbus announced Monday that it will be dropping the “Crew” from their team name as part of a rebrand, which caused some tension among the fan base. The move came before a road match, which was likely strategic in nature.
Toronto needs to turn it around
Toronto FC is off to a very underwhelming start to the season and will be hoping to turn things around in May. It opened the year with a 4-2 loss to Montreal, which was followed up with a 2-2 draw against Vancouver. The third MLS match of the season was the 2-0 loss to the Red Bulls on Saturday. Toronto head coach Chris Armas, who is the former head coach of New York, saw his team get dominated by his former club. Like Columbus, Toronto had also played a mid-week match in the CONCACAF Champions League. And also like the Crew, it is now eliminated after Cruz Azul notched a 4-1 aggregate victory.
The club will now turn its attention to the rest of the MLS season. It recently signed attacking midfielder Yeferson Soteldo, who showed some flashes as a second-half substitute on Saturday. The Venezuelan international is a Designated Player. Toronto added to that signing by snagging left back Kemar Lawrence from RSC Anderlecht. Lawrence had spent five years with the Red Bulls before joining Anderlecht in January of 2020. He was widely regarded as one of the league’s best left backs during his time with New York. Lawrence had five goals and 10 assists during that stretch and has 60 appearances with the Jamaican national team.
Side: (Toronto PK -108)
This is a very tough scheduling spot for Columbus. The Crew are not only playing their third match in seven days, which is not normal for an MLS squad, but they are having to do so on the road. They have not been able to get the offense going this season and that is unlikely to change with weary legs as a factor. Toronto has a pair of new signees that are really going to help the team out and it is able to play at home in this match. I expect a bounce-back effort that winds up with the team getting a result.
Total (Under 3)
If there’s one thing that has been consistent to open the MLS season, it has been the defensive effort from Columbus. The Crew have only allowed one goal this season. They have not been good offensively, though, which has led to the under being a great option for bettors. Toronto has bolstered its defense with its new signings, so this is shaping up to be a low-scoring contest. The Crew are probably going to control the possession, but Toronto will score one or two goals on the counterattack to secure the win.