CLB: Federico Higuain suspended (Yellow Card accumulation)
CLB: Reports have Daniel Paladini as replacement (Speas also possible)
CLB: World Cup absences; Giancarlo Gonzalez, Waylon Francis
TFC: Michael Bradley, Cesar out on World Cup duty
TFC: Regular captain Steven Caldwell out on suspension
TFC: Still have impressive roster, disjointed though
Number on left is percentage accuracy picking 2014 Columbus Crew results only.
50% WHOSCORED.COM ... TORONTO FC
Graham Ruthven is doing really well with predictions this year, believes; "Even without Bradley and Cesar, Toronto FC should claim all three points at BMO Field." Predicts a 2-1 home victory.
50% WIN DRAW WIN ... COLUMBUS CREW
Stake on Away Crew win (0-1) as well as 45% of the famous "your votes" (29% draw, 24% Toronto).
42% COLUMBUS DISPATCH ... TORONTO FC
"Gregg Berhalter likely will be privately pleased to return home with a point," states Adam Jardy in today's match preview. Says it's "impossible to overstate" Higuain's importance. Head out and pick up a paper today, nice piece on Ethan Finlay.
33% BET365 ... TORONTO FC
Evens for the home side (normal). Crew getting 11/4, Draw 23/10.
33% HOME TEAM ... TORONTO FC
33% MLSSOCCER.COM ... TORONTO FC
Surprisingly heavy for the Reds today, 5 of 6. Only other prediction is draw.
25% WV HOOLIGAN ... (no pick)
25% GOAL.COM ... TORONTO FC
Rudi Schuller runs thought game points, notably states that TFC "may not have a better opportunity" to put Columbus away without the services of Higuain. Surprisingly, the Crew lead in the "readers predictions" section (where there seems to be a good bit of activity... more than normal anyway).
17% TABLE POSITION ... TORONTO FC
--% MASSIVE REPORT ... (no pick)
Even though Eric Gehrig played extremely well last week, Columbus fans will likely see Michael Parkhurst back in the line up along side Tyson Wahl at center backs. At right back will probably be Josh Williams, on the left Chad Barson.
The absences won't affect Toronto too much today as they still have ample ability to score multiple goals against a Crew back line that is missing two regular starters to the World Cup. What this means is that even if Columbus scores one or two, Toronto still has the ability to make that ground up. Flip that and the Crew don't have that luxury. They will have to play tight and smart to get a result today.
Overriding key to the match today is the absence of Federico Higuain. He's leads the team in all key categories and easily one of the best players on the pitch for either side when he plays (which has been just about every minute, going back through the preseason even).
Anywho... early match means still time for a movie or something afterward. Maybe even during if Toronto puts a couple up on the Crew in the first half. Enjoy the match!
Site Note: Episode II of Red Cards in Helltown records tomorrow! Look for it Sunday evening for a succinct recap of tonight's match as well as news, notes and commentary on the rest of the league and upcoming World Cup. Check out Episode I if you haven't already.