Scouting Report: Toronto FC
The Black & Gold head North on Saturday (2:00 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio) for the second of three matches against Toronto FC in the 2013 Trillium Cup presented by Scotts. The Crew beat the Reds in the first meeting, 1-0, behind Dominic Oduro's strike just before halftime back on May 18 at BMO Field.
Columbus will study the film from that victory as it prepares for the weekend clash against Toronto FC. In that match, the home side dictated the play by attempting to play long balls through the air from the backline up to the attacking third. Although it didn't deter the Crew from earning three points two months ago, the Black & Gold will look to impose its will on the road this time.
"We've got to try to keep the ball on the floor against a team like that, play our game," Winger Ben Speas said. "If they're going to lump it long, we have to open-up, spread them out and find the passing lanes when we get the ball."
Though he would like his team to be the influencer in Saturday's matinee, Robert Warzycha will be happy to see his team come away as the victor in any way it can.
"We were successful last time we went up there, so I'm don't know if I'm looking to change anything," the Head Coach said. "I'm not looking to possess the ball more, I'm not looking for a prettier game.
"I'm looking to score goals and win the game. That's it."
SCORE FIRST, WIN (MOST OF THE TIME).
In all six of the Crew's wins this season, the Black & Gold have scored the first goal of the match. Transversely, Columbus has yet to win in 2013 when its opponent has drawn first blood (0-7-3).
Like the Crew, Toronto FC has struggled when conceding the first tally. The Reds are 1-9-3 this season when allowing their opponents to score first.
As always, scoring an early goal will be a priority for the Black & Gold attack on Saturday. In eighth place and battling to get back into playoff contention, every point is critical for Columbus with 14 matches left to go in the season.
"Points are that much more important right now, we're really pushing for points," Speas said. "You can say this is a rivalry match, but we've got to focus on ourselves and getting the points. Away from home, a strong start will be key.
"We have to come out with a strong start and set the tone early."