Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Toronto FC and the Columbus Crew will square off at BMO Field on Saturday in the second Trillium Cup match of the season.
TFC was victorious in the first meeting between the two sides with a 2-0 win at Columbus, but the result sparked a run of three straight defeats for the Canadian club.
The Reds appear to back in form though, managing four points from their last two league matches. They most recently came back twice to get a point form a 2-2 draw at Sporting Kansas City.
It was a tremendous point for Toronto given that the team was without several key players due to international duty. The Reds were also reduced to 10 men in the match as Steven Caldwell was issued a straight red card in the 63rd minute.
"We had three of our starting midfield out, so we had a lot of absences," TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said after the match. "We had three starting players out in three different positions and (SKC) had two out. So everybody's made (a deal) about their injuries and we've got a few out as well. Since the start of the season we've only had to pick a starting 11, the actual starting 11, once."
Toronto will look to get Gilberto going this season. He has logged 10 consecutive starts but is still searching for his first goal with the club.
"We've got to pick (Gilberto) up," Nelsen said. "We've all been through it as players and we've all been through it in jobs. And when you move to a new country like that it's very difficult, and we forget he's only 24.
"We know how good of a player he is and it's our job to pick him up and obviously get his confidence up and get him going and it will. Maybe we could get a penalty one of these days and he can get on the scoreboard."
Like Toronto, Columbus has taken four points from its last two games.
After an enthralling 3-3 draw with the Portland Timbers, the Crew ran out to a 2-0 home victory over the Chicago Fire to put an end to an eight-match winless run.
"I think we've been frustrated that we've been playing well and not getting the results. We're still trying to focus on the product we're creating and how we're playing," said Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter. "It's nice when you get results. From that standpoint were happy. I think it was a good effort. Obviously we're missing some guys but we did a great job."
Federico Higuain played a starring role the Crew's defeat of the Fire, but the striker will miss Saturday's clash at Toronto due to yellow card accumulation.
"You don't replace Federico, simple as that. We get someone on the field that can play their game and we're not going to ask someone to come in and play like Federico that would be foolish of us," said Berhalter. "We're going to ask someone to come in and play to the best of their ability. I'm confident that we are going to be able to get that out of someone."