Columbus Crew preview
In what has been a torrid campaign for the current MLS Cup runners up, the Crew lost again at the weekend. This time they fell 1-3 away at New England, but have a chance to get themselves back in playoff contention with successive home matches this week facing TFC and DCU. It’s still remarkable that the Crew have only won three fixtures in 2016 though. For the majority of the campaign their identity of last season vanished. The defence pretty much stayed the same but their goal scoring ability completely diminished. However, in recent times there have been more signs of life thanks to the emergence of Ola Kamara. The ex Molde man has been in red hot form of late and looking extremely dangerous. Columbus are going to be without key playmaker Federico Higuain who is still recovering from a hernia injury. Their best defender Gaston Sauro remains out for the rest of 2016 with an ACL. Despite enduring a tough campaign, the Crew have only lost once at home and traditionally they are hard to beat here.
Toronto FC preview
TFC are another team who have undergone an identity change this season. Gone are the days when they could hardly ever keep a clean sheet and were involved in constant high scoring thrillers. Instead, we’ve seen a stronger defensive unit capable of picking up 1-0 wins. Of course, matters haven’t been helped of late by the fact that Sebastian Giovinco hasn’t scored in any of his last seven games. He’s desperate to end that streak and fired in a whopping 13 shots at the weekend against Chicago, but only registered one on target. Fellow frontman Jozy Altidore has been out injured for a number of weeks but might return here, or at least take up a spot on the bench. The midfield duo of Michael Bradley & Will Johnson are both definitely out, as is number one goalkeeper Clint Irwin.TFC started the season with a ridiculous run of eight consecutive away fixtures, but have since played 7 of their last 9 at home. Maybe they’ve forgotten how to operate on the road which could confuse their minds.
Conclusion & Betting analysis
TFC beat Columbus three times in 2014, but since then the Crew haven’t lost any of the last four H2Hs. The most recent meeting was a 0-0 draw in Toronto about seven weeks ago. The last time the two teams met here, TFC came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 in what was an absolute thriller. In some ways this is a difficult match to predict but my gut instinct tells me that it’ll be a more open game than some might think. I’ve seen signs in recent weeks that the ‘old style’ Crew is starting to appear again. That’s ensuring a more open style of play, some defensive mistakes but also a major threat going forwards. Ola Kamara is a massive weapon to have at the moment. Of course, TFC also have a huge weapon in Giovinco. This is a great fixture in which to end his scoring drought against a dodgy backline. I think both teams will fancy their chances of victory leading to a decent match. The goal line is set at 2.5 and this is tempting enough for me to back the overs. There’s a danger this could develop into a lacklustre midweek contest but there’s enough quality in the two frontmen to ensure this match ends over 2.5 in my opinion.
Recommended bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.85