If I know the supporters of the New York Red Bulls (and I think I do), there's a whole lot of talk going around about this weekend's match-up against the Columbus Crew being a trap game. It's a valid concern considering New York's tendency to play up or down to the quality of their opponents. The Crew, quite frankly, haven't been very good this season, so it's only natural to assume that the Red Bulls won't play very well in Columbus on Saturday night. So let's take a look at what we know and what we don't know heading into this weekend's game.
Here's what we know:
- The Red Bulls are riding high.
Coming off of two big wins against league leading teams, New York is firing on all cylinders. They somehow shook the lousy road form monkey off of their backs last weekend in Kansas City and are looking to extend their win streak to three against a faltering Columbus side. The Red Bulls are gelling as a team like never before and seem to have finally bought into coach Mike Petke's plan.
- The Crew have effectively shut down Thierry Henry this season.
New York has faced Columbus twice so far this season. In both matches the Crew's game plan seemed to be "shut down Thierry Henry" and they've effectively pulled it off. Unfortunately for Columbus, the French super star isn't the only credible threat in New York's attack these days. While they're busy pairing two defenders on Henry, Fabian Espindola will be running an offside muck with their back line, Peggy Luyindula will be wide open to shank another 15 sitters and Jonny Steele will be terrorizing their left flanks.
- Higuain looks like Charlie Brown.
Here's what we don't know:
- Was last week's win on the road a fluke?
- What is this starting lineup going to look like?
- Will Lloyd Sam's injury keep him out of this match?
Here's what we think:
- Luyindula is going to change some minds.
- The New York Red Bulls will treat treat this match like a statement game.