New York Red Bulls v Columbus Crew, Sunday July 28 00:30
These are two of the oldest clubs in MLS, with three MLS Cup Final appearances between them, but they go into Saturday’s game in very different circumstances in the Eastern Conference.
Red Bulls Edge the Head to Head
New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew are old rivals, but when it comes to games in New York, the Red Bulls have the edge. They’ve won 18 to Columbus’ 11, with 5 draws, but they haven’t had things all their own way in the Big Apple. Last year, Columbus pulled off an impressive 3-2 win in this fixture, and they can also claim the most significant victory in games between these teams, back in 2008, when they prevailed 3-1 in the MLS Cup Final.
Fortress Red Bull Arena
The Red Bulls had a slow start to the season, and although they have picked up since the end of April, and go into this game in fourth place in the East, they have shown inconsistency along the way, losing to Houston, Philadelphia and Toronto since the start of June. All those defeats, however, came on the road, and at home, they have fared much better, winning six and drawing one of their last eight fixtures at Red Bull Arena.
Signs of a Columbus Revival?
Columbus won four of their first six this season, but that proved to be a false dawn, as a nightmare run of one win in sixteen sent them plummeting to the wrong end of the table. They go into this game nine points adrift from the play-offs, and Caleb Porter who took over from the now US coach Gregg Berhalter is under intense pressure from fans who are used to seeing their team competing for honours in the post-season. But there have been positive signs in their last two games, in which the Crew earned a point in Chicago and beat sixth-placed Montreal.
A Tough Task for The Crew
If Columbus are on the upswing, this will be a good test against a team with MLS Cup ambitions, and not surprisingly, the Red Bulls are hot favourites at 3/4 with most bookmakers, while Columbus fans can back their side at 4/1 to pull off what would be a significant surprise in New Jersey.