Toronto FC: What they have to do to finish off the Columbus Crew

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 21: Michael Bradley
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 21: Michael Bradley /

TFC were able to deny the Columbus Crew of getting critical home goals at Mapfre Stadium. At the same time, the Reds were not able to secure any away goals.

The tie now switches back over to BMO Field where Toronto FC will host the Crew in the second leg to determine who goes to the MLS Cup Final.

No away goal rule can help TFC in this scenario. Greg Vanney’s squad has to win the game to advance. Luckily, they have a couple of top-notch players returning to the lineup. Add the effect of BMO Field to the mix, and fans should be in for a very entertaining contest.

The Crew won’t go down without a fight though. The franchise could be on the line here. Expect Columbus to push even harder than the New York Red Bulls did in the second leg of the last tie.

TFC will have to come with a better gameplan, while hoping to stay disciplined in the process. Here’s what TFC has to do in order to finish off Columbus once and for all:

Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore return

Scoring no goals in the first leg could have been a different story if these two machines were in the lineup. Both Giovinco and Altidore will return to the lineup on Wednesday giving TFC a huge boost.

The importance of Altidore when he is in form is critical to the club’s success. The American was in blistering form before his suspension. Altidore amassed six goals and an assist in his last 10 matches for the Reds.

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The striker should be paired with Giovinco in this match. The combination of the two should have an immense impact on the backline of the Crew.

The Atomic Ant has also scored 6 in his last 10 fixtures. Reds’ fans know how clutch Giovinco is in the most crucial of situations. His free kicks go unmatched by any player on the entire planet.

The Crew will have to dedicate players to watch these two for the whole match. Columbus will have to alter their entire gameplan, while Toronto FC benefits from these two superstars.

Dictate the tempo

The Red Bulls came into Toronto completely controlling play for the majority of the contest, giving TFC their biggest scare of the season. The Reds now have a clean sheet as all of their players are returning to the starting lineup and they need to be used effectively.

Firstly, Toronto has to stay disciplined. TFC can’t afford to go a man down especially considering no goals have been scored.

TFC have been dominating opponents all season long with their quick tempo, possession hogging style of play. The tactics that Vanney has instilled into the club have to stay true in this fixture.

Toronto should come flying right out of the gates. The defense should push forward, while the offense takes as many shots as they can on Crew keeper Zach Steffan. Putting the Crew on their heels will dictate the flow of the whole contest, especially at BMO Field.

Use BMO Field as the advantage

The “win or go home” set up that is now present should draw a big crowd to watch the Reds in the second leg.

TFC have been ruthless at home this season, going 13-3-1. Toronto have a goal differential of +30 when they’re home; scoring 45 goals in total.

Despite the Reds creating some chances in the last tie against New York, the crowd seemed to not be into the contest as a result of what happened on the pitch. If all factors align, TFC should be plenty motivated in front of 26,000 loud fans who want to see their team back in the final.

Next: Toronto FC’s Greg Vanney wins MLS Coach of the Year

What does TFC have to do in the next leg? Will the finish off the Crew? Let us know in the comments below.