I apologize for not having this up sooner, I had some computer issues and was forced to delay this.
As previously reported in the Sounder's review story, Columbus Crew will be without their leading scorer in Guillermo Barros Schelotto who was suspended by the MLS for his off the ball action against Chivas USA player Michael Umaña. The referees didn't see it at the time, but after reviewing the tape, he was suspended. News has also broken that Columbus will be without two other starters. Chad Marshall and Robbie Rogers are both with the US National Team for pre World Cup training. This is great news for a New York team that needs to bounce back after two loses.
Unfortunately, the Crew aren't the only team that will be without starters. The New York Red Bulls will be without Carl Robinson andn Salou Ibrahim, both of whom are nursing injuries. Joel Lindpere and Brian Nielsen are questionable for the game, but will more than likely suit up.
Now what do the Red Bulls need to accomplish in order to stop a very strong Columbus team? I'll discuss that after the jump.
The Midfield must press the action: The team will be playing a 4-4-2 with Lindpere, Stammler, Ubiparipovic, and Richards starting at Midfield. The team must be able to press the action in order to set up the attack of Angel and Nielsen. The biggest problem we faced against Seattle was the inability to press forward and this is a necessity for tomorrow night's game against Columbus.
Juan Pablo Angel must find his mark: The next most important thing is for Juan Pablo Angel to start getting the looks he needs to convert his shots. The team needs corner kicks as Angel is still one of the most dangerous players in the MLS off the cross. He hasn't be able to find his groove and he has to if the Red Bulls expect to remain at the top of the division.
The Defense must support Bouna Coundoul: Mike Petke is one yellow card short of getting suspended for a game, which will affect the way he plays. He's a very physical player and if he's not able to play with the intensity he normally has, he will be extremely limited. Fortunately, Tim Ream, Jeremy Hall, and Danleigh Borman are playing very well and should be able to pick up any slack that is created by Petke's potential carding.
Bouna has to play more fundamentally sound: Finally, Bouna Coundoul MUST play a smart game. He's a super athletic goalie and has the ability to be the difference maker, but he often makes the bonehead error such as his games against Kansas City and San Jose. If not for Borman, he would have given up a goal for being too aggressive in challenging for the ball.
If the team is able to convert on these key points, there is no reason why the team shouldn't be able to defeat a short handed Columbus Crew.
Check back Friday when I have a review of the game. Finally, if you are looking for a pub for dinner, join GSS at MMM Bellos prior to the game. We will march to the Stadium at 7:15pm.