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New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew Preview

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These boys need to put the team on their backs.
These boys need to put the team on their backs.

After a winless May, the New York Red Bulls begin their June schedule at home tonight against the Columbus Crew as they look for their first victory in six games with almost half of their first-choice starting XI missing due to international call-ups.

The Crew have had a fairly mediocre start to the season, and they are fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, four points behind the second-placed Red Bulls. Fortunately, Columbus also suffered through May without winning a match, although their two points from a possible twelve was a slightly worse return than New York's four points from fifteen.

Most worrying for Robert Warzycha has probably been the Crew defense, which hasn't kept a clean sheet since mid-April and shipped three goals in two of the last three games, against San Jose and Chivas USA. Despite failing to win games recently, the Red Bulls have been able to score a few goals this season and that poor defensive record bodes well for New York.

On the other hand, the Red Bulls have had a pretty poor record against Columbus; they're 2-5-1 over the last eight games between the two sides and New York hasn't beaten the Crew since August 2009. The first match between the two sides this season ended in a 0-0 draw with a few wasted chances for each side.

The team news is pretty much as expected. Thierry Henry is back from injury, Carl Robinson and Chris Albright are both long-term absentees, and Rafa Márquez, Tim Ream, Dane Richards, Juan Agudelo, Dwayne De Rosario, and Bouna Coundoul are all away on international duty. Columbus have a few players out due to injury, including Josh Williams and Danny O'Rourke, but have only lost Robbie Rogers to international call-ups.

Kickoff is at 7:30, and the game will be on MSG for those of you who can't make it out to Red Bull Arena. We'll have a Match Thread going here, but it will be much cooler if you come over to the top of Section 133 and hang out with us during the game. Just win, boys.