Will Johnson’s equalizer against New York, on a Josh William’s pullback, was the first goal of TFC’s season that didn’t include Giovinco in an assisting or scoring capacity, at the 14th time of asking.
Coach Greg Vanney may leave his other midweek debutant Jay Chapman on the bench for this one and go with Danny Lovitz, who has seen limited minutes since the early part of the season.
Vanney rotated Damien Perquis for Williams on Wednesday night but expect the Frenchman to come back in. Williams spent four years in Columbus and would be disappointed to miss the meeting with his old crew.
Gregg Berhalter’s side have struggled to rediscover the form that took them all the way to last year’s showpiece and sit second from bottom in the Eastern Conference. Fortunately, the East appears wide open. Accounting for points-per-game, there is very little to separate any of the sides at this point, aside from the sliding Chicago Fire.
In the 1-1 tie with Colorado Rapids on May 14, Ola Kamara started for the time this season, replacing the departed Kei Kamara (no relation). The Norwegian international will go looking for his first goal in Crew colours at BMO Field. Winger Cedrick Mabwati came in for Ethan Finlay against the Rapids and smashed home just the second goal of his Columbus career but expect to see Finlay, named to Jurgen Klinsmann’s primary Copa America squad, return for the matchup in Toronto.
Due to the rivalry that has developed over the years, the fixture with Columbus has become a de facto derby for TFC. The Crew defeated the Reds twice last season, including a 2-0 victory at BMO Field in October, as Toronto limped into the playoffs.
Toronto: C.Irwin, D.Moor, D.Perquis, S.Beitashour, J.Morrow, D.Lovitz, M.Bradley, W.Johnson, T.Endoh, S.Giovinco, M.Babouli
Columbus Crew: S.Clark, H.Afful, M.Parkhurst, G.Sauro, C.Ashe, W.Trapp, M.Saeid, J.Meram, F.Higuain, E.Finlay, O.Kamara
Referee: Nima Saghafi
Broadcast: Sportsnet One
Follow Ciarán @keep_score