The New York Red Bulls will need at least two goals against Columbus Crew to extend their 2015 season past today's second leg of the Eastern Conference Playoff final. Who will head coach Jesse Marsch turn to for this win-(by the right number of goals..or on penalties)-or-go-home match-up?
This column is thinking Marsch will turn to the familiar faces that have got RBNY this far into the post-season. Arguments can be made for adjusting the lineup: part of what made Columbus the better team in the first leg of this series was the Crew successfully predicted and exploited the tendencies of one of the more settled lineups and tactical plans in MLS. If Marsch wants to spring a surprise on his opponent, the quickest way to do so would be to introduce a new face among the starters, and set Columbus to second-guessing the intention of the change.
The RBNY head coach would not be at fault if he opts to try something a little different for what could be his team's last game of the season. But it seems more likely he'll stick with the players he's favored thus far in the post-season. The Red Bulls' initial intentions are no secret: they need to beat Columbus by three clear goals to win the series in 90 minutes. The best way this RBNY team knows for scoring goals is with a relatively settled starting lineup that almost picks itself at this stage of the season.
Edit: Marsch has said he isn't inclined to fix what he doesn't think is broken.