Trillium Cup Rivalry Preview: Toronto FC v. Columbus SC

Trillum Cup rivalry season match where Pedro Santos of Columbus Crew SC kicked the ball away from Toronto FC player Michael Bradley

PREVIEW – This year will be the 14th year of the Trillium Cup between Columbus SC and Toronto FC. The Trillium Cup was created in 2008 by the mayors of Toronto and Columbus. It also gave Toronto its first-ever MLS rivalry as Montreal and Vancouver were not yet in MLS at the time.

Trillium Cup Preview between Toronto FC and Columbus SC

Columbus SC

Last Game Summary

The defending MLS Cup champions are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference. They have only played three games, where they have one win and two ties. The strange thing about Columbus this season is that they have only scored one goal this MLS season.

This is Lucas Zelarayán, who scored the opening goal in a 3-1 win over D.C. United off a free kick. The other two Columbus goals scored were own goals by Washington D.C.’s Frédéric Brillant and José Antonio Alfaro Vázquez.

Crew head coach Caleb Porter said this about the mindset they had against Washington D.C. after they won the game 3-1 at the New Crew Stadium.

Players to watch out for

Zelarayán was the player of the game against Washington D.C. This was not just because he scored the first goal of the game. He also did a great job at the midfield for Columbus. Zelarayán also won the MLS Cup Most Valuable Player award last year.

Other players to watch out for include Gyasi Zardes, who was a 2020 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player candidate along with Jonathan Mensah. Chris Mavinga from TFC also made the list.

Zardes had 12 goals and four assists for Columbus in the 2020 MLS season. Pedro Santos is another player, who led the team with eight assists. Santos was also tied last year in second place with Zelarayán with six goals.

They also have Mensah, who was a candidate for Defender of the Year Award finalist and Eloy Room who was Goalkeeper of the Year Finalist in 2020. This is according to MLSsoccer staff.

Toronto FC

Last Game Summary

Toronto FC suffered a 2-0 defeat at Red Bull Arena to the New York Red Bulls. It was a tough loss for TFC, who looked like the better team in the first 30 minutes of the game. However, the pressure the Red Bulls put on Toronto made TFC commit a lot of turnovers. As a result, Toronto gave up another two goals against New York City.

TFC head coach Chris Armas said this in the clip above:

“How can I be better, what more can I do. What am I doing well and what do I need to improve?”

Armas wants the Toronto players to take a hard look at themselves on how they can be better for the next game. He also encouraged the players to ask coaches on how to get better after losing to the Red Bulls 0-2 at Red Bull Arena.

Defence is a problem for Toronto so far this season. Yes, they played very well against Club León in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16. However, in MLS play TFC have given up eight goals in only three games played. This was a big reason why Toronto acquired left-back defender Kemar Lawrence. Lawrence has previous experience playing in MLS from 2015-19 with the Red Bulls.

Players to watch out for

It is unclear if Lawrence will play against the Red Bulls on Wednesday. Lawrence made the MLS Best XI in 2018 and the MLS All-Star Game in 2017 as a member of the Red Bulls. However, one player who will play is Yeferson Soteldo. His first MLS game was against the Red Bulls last Saturday.

Other players include Richie Laryea and Ayo Akinola. Akinola co-led the team with Pozuelo last year with nine goals each. Furthermore, Laryea is always a threat with his speed. He can go and create scoring chances for others and himself.

Lastly, there is Jozy Altidore, who played a big role in TFC winning their first and so far only MLS Cup in 2017. Other players to look out for are Michael Bradley, Chris Mavinga, and possibly Jonathan Osorio.

Injuries for both teams

Toronto currently has four-five injuries. Julian Dunn currenly has a hip injury since March 15 and Erickson Gallardo, who had a groin surgery, has not played for Toronto since April 9.

The most concerning injury from a Toronto perspective is Ifunanyachi Achara. He had a torn knee ligament and has been injured since July 2, 2020.

The most notable player injured is Alejandro Pozuelo. The 2020 MLS Donovan Most Valuable Player has been injured since March 15, 2021 with a thigh muscle strain. Jonathan Osorio may also not play against Columbus on Wednesday with a right thigh injury.

Columbus also has four injuries. Liam Fraser is the most recent injury, who currently has an ankle injury since April 22. Aidan Morris had a knee injury since April 17, Marlon Hairston a bruised knee since April 14, and finally Kevin Molino. who currently has a muscle injury since April 12.

These recent injury troubles might become a problem for Columbus just as it has for Toronto this year.

Trillum Cup Rivalry Overview

Columbus has won seven of the thirteen Trillium Cups since the Cup was created in 2008. The Crew currently has a 7-6 edge over Toronto. However, Toronto has won five of the last seven Trillium Cups. It is clear that Toronto knows Columbus well and knows what to expect from them.

This is going to be a tight match, which might end in a draw for both teams. The game will kick off at 7:00 p.m. ET. It will be at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida in Wednesday, May. 12. Also, the game can be watched nationally in Canada on TSN1 and TSN4. Both teams faced each other only once last year, when Toronto defeated Columbus 3-1.

TFC will face the Crew again on May 29 at 3:00 p.m. ET. There the Trillium Cup will be awarded to the winning team. The game will take place at Historic Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

It will also be the first game where Columbus Crew SC have rebranded themselves as Columbus SC. The official announcement was made on Monday.

It seemed unnecessary as the previous Crew logo was probably one of the best in MLS. However, Columbus felt a change needed to be made and as a result they have rebranded their logo.

Embed from Getty Images


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