Pregame 2: Toronto FC v. Crew
Coming off of last week’s tie with Houston, the Crew are set to play Toronto in the home opener. The Crew eager to get back to their winning ways against an in conference opponent. Toronto wants to string together a 2nd consecutive road win. Both teams are expected to be near the top of the conference standings and fighting for playoff position.
Crew on Offense: With Rogers, Moreno, and Hejduk out of the lineup, the Crew will have to rely on substitutes to fill in the gap. Garey and Lenhart ably filled for in Moreno last year and should be able provide an offensive spark. The key is on the wings as Grendi has to adjust and play a more composed game than last week. A solid game by Grendi will also help neutralize Marvell Wynne by making him track back. I guess if all else fails, the Crew can fall back on Schelotto to make something happen like last week. With Toronto missing Carl Robinson, there should be space for Schelotto to work.
Crew on Defense: Toronto scored three in Kansas City and their offense looks like it has really improved. Toronto looked fluid behind the the play of Amado Guevara and Dewayne DeRosario. Guevara is out, which makes TFC a little less potent, but they still have some weapons. Carroll and Ekpo have to work together better than last week to win the midfield battle. Padula and Grendi will have to account for the flank speed of Wynne. His skills may be lacking, but his speed can pull apart the shape of the Crew’s left side.
Final Thought: With the large amount of support both teams will be brining, the match won’t lack for atmosphere. It’s also hard to predict how the game will play out with both teams missing players. It will come down to how the benches on both sides perform. The Crew are probably starting a rookie at left midfield, will have a new central defender as O’Rourke moves over, and a new forward, but Toronto will be struggling to replace the offensive talents of Guevara and the assured presence of Robinson. The Crew pull out the game at home on the strength of the second string.
Toronto 1 – Crew 2