Despite being atop the Major League Soccer standings on the strength of a six-game unbeaten streak, Columbus Crew coach Caleb Porter said Sunday's matchup against Toronto FC will be a barometer of how good his team is.
The Crew (9-1-3, 30 points) have four wins and a pair of ties in the past six games for a five-point lead over Toronto (7-2-4, 25 points), Orlando and Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference.
"We're definitely going to use this game as an opportunity to grow and measure ourselves a little bit," Porter said. "We need these games going into the playoffs. If we want to be the best, we have to beat the best and I would say Toronto is definitely, without question, one of the best teams in the league and that's why they've been the MLS Cup champions in three finals in the last four years.
"In saying that, my group will definitely be up for it. We're not going to shy away from the game."
Because of Canadian quarantine rules regarding out-of-country travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, the match will be played at Rentschler Field at Pratt Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Conn., where Toronto is based and designated as the home team.
"It will feel familiar," Toronto coach Greg Vanney said. "We've now trained on the field a number of times and been inside the stadium. Our locker room has been set up. Guys kind of feel at home.
"It's a new stop on the tour, if you will. It will be a completely new stop for (the Crew)."
Columbus has allowed just five goals this season and the offense has been led by midfielder Pedro Santos, who has three goals and four assists in the past five games.
"It's a team that's shown to be one of the leaders this year," Vanney said, "especially in terms of goals against, but they're also very good at creating chances."
--Field Level Media