Toronto FC-Crew Preview

BY foxsports • July 24, 2015

Given his recent performances, Toronto FC star midfielder Sebastian Giovinco is likely to give the Columbus Crew's back line everything it can handle.

Kei Kamara just hopes the unit can give him a chance to provide some counter attacks.

In a matchup between the league's top two scorers, Kamara will try to help Columbus win a season-high third in a row Saturday night against Giovinco and visiting Toronto.

Giovinco continued his strong form last Saturday, finishing with a goal and an assist as the Reds ended a three-game winless streak by beating visiting Philadelphia 2-1.

In his previous match July 12, the Italian playmaker had a hat trick and assisted on another score in a 4-all draw with New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. He has had a hand in 20 of the club's last 24 goals, scoring half, dating back to April 4.

Giovinco has also scored nine of his 12 goals - two behind Kamara - on the road. Now he'll try to help put Toronto into a tie with Columbus near the top of the Eastern Conference.

"He's going to come in here, he's going to want to play well," Kamara told the team's official website. "I have trust in my defense that hopefully it can stop him, stop him from catching up to me and us creating some more (scoring chances) so I can pull away from him."

Columbus also has to contain star Jozy Altidore, who is second on the team with six goals.

"Jozy is power and strength and good finishing, and Giovinco is quickness and speed and great passing, and also good finishing, so it's a tough combo," Crew coach Gregg Berhalter said.

The Crew look to close the gap on East-leading D.C. United with a fourth consecutive home win. They're coming off a sweep of a home-and-home set with Chicago, winning 1-0 at Toyota Park on July 15 and 3-1 at home on Sunday.

Kamara scored the lone tally at Chicago before providing the go-ahead goal Sunday. He's scored 10 of his 14 at Mapfre Stadium.

Kamara also has four scores in his last five matches versus Toronto (8-7-3) dating to his time with Sporting Kansas City. The All-Star helped Columbus (8-7-6) snap a three-game losing streak in the series with an insurance tally in a 2-0 victory March 14.

"He's such a big guy that's dominant in the air," TFC defender Justin Morrow told the team's official website. "We need to make sure we don't lose him in space."

Crew midfielder Justin Meram had a goal in the first meeting for his third in as many games against the Reds. However, he hasn't scored in his last 14 overall.

Toronto could be missing a key piece in the back with Ashtone Morgan's status in doubt after he left Wednesday's friendly against Sunderland with a groin injury.

Midfielder Michael Bradley remains away on Gold Cup duty, but goalkeeper Chris Konopka is back after serving a suspension for endangering the safety of an opponent against NYCFC.

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