Crew-Toronto FC Preview

The Columbus Crew are trying to put a rough stretch behind them

and create some momentum heading into the playoffs. Toronto FC has

been busy apologizing for another lousy season.

The Crew attempt to take advantage of sputtering Toronto and

regain the Eastern Conference lead Saturday afternoon.

Columbus (13-8-7) is coming off a stretch of four matches in 10

days, including a 2-1 loss at Seattle in the U.S. Open Cup final on

Oct. 5.

The Crew followed that up with a 2-0 defeat at Chicago three

days later, and coach Robert Warzycha feels the fatigue from

playing in the Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League is causing


“I don’t ever remember playing that many games in that many days

and have to travel to three of them,” Warzycha told the team’s

official website. “We’re just too tired. We’re not thinking. It’s

the little things.”

Columbus’ tough stretch is part of an 0-3-2 run in MLS play that

ended its chances at a third consecutive Supporters’ Shield.

The Crew are also two points back of New York for the East lead

with two games remaining in the regular season. They’d like to use

those matches to gain some momentum heading into the playoffs.

“Right now, the focus is on righting the ship and … putting

our nose to the grindstone and making sure the next time we take

the field the performance is right, the result is right,”

goalkeeper William Hesmer said.

Production from Guillermo Barros Schelotto, the team leader with

eight goals and eight assists, could be key if Columbus is going to

win in league play for the first time since beating last-place D.C.

1-0 on Sept. 4. The midfielder has one goal in five games since,

while mustering two shots and getting shut down in the last two


Schelotto scored in a season-opening 2-0 win over Toronto

(8-13-7) on March 27 as the Crew improved to 5-0-5 in the all-time

series for the Trillium Cup.

While Columbus is preparing for the postseason, TFC’s 1-7-2

stretch has eliminated it from playoff contention for a fourth

consecutive year, and the club apologized to fans Thursday.

Toronto hosts the MLS Cup in November.

“We fell short of our goals and more importantly, your

expectations,” the organization said in a letter on the team’s

official website, which also announced several town hall meetings

to discuss the issues. “Your passion and dedication has been

unwavering and for that you deserve more than we have delivered

this season.”

TFC’s struggles have already led to the firings of Director of

Soccer Mo Johnston and coach Preki.

Interim coach Nick Dasovic is 1-4-0, and he’s trying to make a

case for the full-time job in 2011. Those aspirations, however,

were dealt a blow with last Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Chivas USA.

“Unfortunately we can’t go in and help them score goals,”

Dasovic said of Toronto’s 14 shots against Chivas.

Toronto ranks 15th in the league with 28 goals.