The Red Bulls are in the playoffs. Hooray!
With two games to go, it might feel like the Red Bulls have a bit of breathing room and that not every game need to carry the must-win gravitas that some of the last few games seemed to have.
But they don't.
Here's why: While the Red Bulls are in the playoffs, if they're going to win the last remaining piece of hardware up for grabs -- the MLS Cup -- it'll help tremendously to play at home.
At the time of this writing, the Red Bulls are on a 10 game unbeaten streak at Red Bull Arena, going 8-0-2 in a timeframe that stretches back to late June. The road is a different story, where the Red Bulls have the worst goal differential out of all the playoff teams, at -12. The New England Revolution are the only team that even comes close, at -10. After that, the Vancouver Whitecaps, currently clinging to the West's fifth spot by a single point, are -6.
If the Red Bulls win this weekend against the Columbus Crew, they'll be on 50 points, which will clinch them home field advantage in the play-in game at the very least. If they were to win that, it's two-legged series until the MLS Cup Final (should they make it that far).
A win, too, keeps them in contention for the second or third spot. But, again, at the very least, a win keeps the Red Bulls from playing a winner-take-all one-off game for a spot in the conference semi-finals away from Red Bull Arena.