CLB Three Keys 2018

Three Keys to the Match: Columbus Crew SC vs. Toronto FC

The Reds renew their rivalry with the Crew in Columbus. Here are the Benjamin Moore three keys Saturday night’s match.

Road Warriors

Saturday night’s clash in Columbus marks the start of difficult stretch for Toronto FC, one in which the Reds will be on the road for seven of their next nine matches.

TFC will be looking to set the tone and get their season on track with a good result at MAPFRE Stadium against one of the East’s best sides. While the road trip is daunting, head coach Greg Vanney has preached a “one game at a time” mentality that should help the Reds see out this extended stay away from home.

Missing Pieces

It’s no secret the Reds have been forced to shuffle their lineup due to injury for the majority for the season, but Saturday’s opposition will face a similar conundrum.

While TFC are still without the likes of Drew Moor, Justin Morrow and Jozy Altidore, Columbus will be missing a few key pieces of their own. Captain Wil Trapp and goalkeeper Zack Steffen are unavailable for Saturday’s matchup after being called into the United States national team camp to take on the Republic of Ireland in Dublin, while midfielder Cristian Martinez will be serving the first of his two-game suspension.

Depleted squads or not, no excuses will be made as a massive three points will be up for grabs between these two rivals.

Pipa Problem

One player who looked to figure no part is midfielder Federico Higuain, but all that changed on Friday as an Independent Panel overturned his one-game suspension that would have forced him out of Saturday’s match.

The Argentine playmaker has long been considered amongst the best in MLS and has shown a penchant for making big plays against TFC. Higuain scored the game-winning goal in the 2018 season opener at BMO Field and will be eager to get on the scoresheet once again. Michael Bradley and company will need to be aware of the crafty number 10 as he floats into the hole beneath forward Gyasi Zardes.