When last the New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew met, the Red Bulls were on a four game unbeaten streak and one win away from the top of the Eastern Conference while the Crew was looking like a real contender. This Saturday night is a very different scenario. Both teams are sitting on a mediocre twenty points after seventeen games played and both have a zero goal differential. One of these teams needs to make a move in order to help secure a spot in the playoffs. So who's going to get the job done?
Here's what we know:
- Screw the all-star game, BWP is ON FIRE!
- Dax is back!
- No Jonny Steele off the bench.
Here's what we don't know:
The Higuain effect.
He may not be heading into the World Cup final like his brother, but Federico Higuain is still one of the most creative and dangerous players in Major League Soccer. With six goals and five assists on the season, Higuain has a deadly eye for making dangerous passes and a nose for the goal. It's very possible that the Argentine #10 will cut through New York's faltering midfield with little difficulty. If Dax McCarty is able to play a full ninety, it would help to cut down Higuain's productivity, but Ibrahim Sekagya might not be as effective.
The Penalty effect.
Last week's penalty was a tough one to swallow. Rookie defender, Chris Duvall, was incorrectly accused of a handball in the box which resulted in a 2-2 draw against Houston that easily should have been a win. Oddly enough, the last time the Red Bulls played the Crew, it was another right back giving up the PK. Kosuke Kimura (remember him?) committed a dumb foul in the box and Jairo Arrieta beat Luis Robles on the ensuing penalty kick, spoiling what could very well have been a clean sheet. At this point it feels like Robles has had to face a PK in every match. Will the trend continue this Saturday night when a largely inexperienced back line?
- Will the streak continue, or better yet, improve?