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Toronto looking for stronger defensive effort against Columbus Crew

May 20, 2016 - 2:55 PM

Toronto FC will be looking for some defensive consistency Saturday as the team wraps up a four-game homestand against the Columbus Crew at BMO Field.

The Reds (4-4-3) opened the homestand with a 1-0 victory over FC Dallas on May 7 before dropping a sloppy 4-3 decision to the Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend. Toronto followed with a 1-1 draw on Wednesday against New York City FC.

"I thought it was a four-minute period where we really let down and made some silly mistakes," coach Greg Vanney said of last Saturday's loss. "I thought (on Wednesday) night, we defended really well. New York, their best chance, they didn't score on and a very difficult shot, from (Kwadwo) Poku was actually the goal that they scored on.

"There's still details within our defending that we need to get back to and continue to focus on."

Poku opened the scoring in the 16th minute on Wednesday before Will Johnson secured a point for Toronto with his goal in the 42nd minute.

Against Vancouver, Toronto conceded two goals in the first 20 minutes and found themselves down 4-2 by the 72nd minute before defender Drew Moor pulled the home side within one.

"Vancouver was a disappointment, and that's kind of the wake-up call that we needed," Moor said. "We can't give up four goals at home. We need to try to get shutouts at home, we want to try to get shutouts whenever we can, but there is a different feel, different mentality when you're at home.

"(At home) you want to press, you want to go and you have your home fans behind you, you have your home media around you and you feel like you need to go and win games and you certainly want to do that, but we still need to be solid defensively and not be as loose as we were against Vancouver."

Toronto will welcome back midfielder Jonathan Osorio on Saturday. The Brampton, Ont., native missed Wednesday's game due to an ankle injury suffered in the 79th minute against the Whitecaps.

Forward Jozy Altidore will miss his third game due to a hamstring injury while midfielder Marky Delgado (hamstring) is questionable to play against the Crew. Toronto will also be without Benoit Cheyrou (quad).

Columbus (2-4-4) comes to Toronto following back-to-back draws at Mapfre Stadium. The Crew sit ninth in the Eastern Conference standings and are 0-3-2 on the road this season.

"They're very good at their spacing and their positional play," Vanney said. "They get into areas of the field that really sort of question who is going to pick up whom, and how you're going to deal with their shifts. That's always the challenge with them because they're very well coached in that way."

Toronto finished 1-2-0 against Columbus last season. Saturday marks the first of three meetings between the two clubs this season.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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