Toronto FC take Columbus Crew back to BMO Field with no goals

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 21: Pedro Santos
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 21: Pedro Santos /

A lineup without both Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore would prove to a tough night for Toronto FC, but they managed to secure an important 0-0 tie.

There was no doubting it would be a tough night for Toronto FC. The Reds didn’t get their crucial away goal, but they found a way to keep the Columbus Crew off the score sheet in a dull but important 0-0 draw.

Amazingly, Toronto FC started a lot of bench players that performed good enough against some of the Crew’s best. TFC now return to Toronto with a clean slate, and their two best players eligible for action in the second leg.

TFC Starting XI

Match Recap

Tosaint Ricketts checked into the striker position for Altidore in this one. In the ninth minute, Ricketts got put through by Nicolas Hasler, but the 30-year-old sent his shot wide of the net.

Victor Vazquez got on the end of a free kick just moments later from the midfield. The Spaniard elected to take a shot, but curled his effort wide.

Alex Bono was a little more silent than usual in this one, but that might be a good thing. Bono punched away a cross earlier on in the first period, and another attempt in the air in the 29th minute.

Centre-back Chris Mavinga earned himself a chance right before the half ended. The 26-year-old took a shot from outside the box, but Crew keeper Zach Steffen made a diving save to keep it out.

Crew created a scramble within the box that was led by forward Pedro Santos. Drew Moor had to clear the attempt off the line, while Santos was cautioned for a collision during the chance.

There was some very dull play from the Reds in the second half. Fans could tell Toronto was trying to sit back and defend at most points in the game.

More from Toronto FC

The Crew pushed most of their line forward, but Toronto FC did a nice job denying any chance from the Ohio club. Within this period of time, Vazquez earned himself a yellow card, which was TFC’s first of the night.

The Crew really pushed for a goal towards the final minutes of the contest. Raheem Edwards really struggled to keep pace with Harrison Afful, which led to him getting a direct shot on Bono that was deflected away. The rebound opportunity was blocked away by a Toronto defender.

A minute later, the Crew won a free kick that was crossed in by Federico Higuain. Afful got some gel on it and the ball deflected off the bar and back into play. Lucky break for the Reds.

After that, Greg Vanney instructed his men to kill time off the clock. The Crew got one more chance, but it was eventually ruled offside. Other than that scare, TFC pushed the Crew away and kept it at 0-0 as the final whistle blew.

Key Stats

Columbus Crew

  • 14 shots
  • 11 open play shots, 3 off set pieces
  • 84 percent pass success rate
  • 20 tackles won
  • Defender Jonathan Mensah with highest team rating of 7.21, according to WhoScored

Toronto FC

  • 7 shots
  • 79 percent pass success rate
  • 12 tackles won
  • Bono was Man of the Match with a 7.52 rating
  • TFC lost the possession game 48 percent to 52 percent

Next Match

The Reds head back to BMO Field to host the Crew in the second leg of the MLS Conference Finals next Wednesday, Nov 29. In Canada, the match will be aired on TSN. ESPN will provide coverage for MLS games throughout the duration of the playoffs.

Next: Good news regarding Giovinco's future?

What are your thoughts on the match? Did Toronto FC play the right strategy? What needs to be done in the second leg? Let us know in the comments below.